Brett Fawcett

WORD MADE FLESH

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 26, 2015
2 Kings 4.42-44 | Psalm 145 | Ephesians 4.1-6 | John 6.1-15
July 13, 2015

One sometimes hears it said that in the Old Testament, God's laws were harsh and demanding, full of difficult works, in contrast to the New Testament, where things are much easier.

Now, instead of bloody sacrifices and kosher food laws, all we have to do is love one another. As though that were easier.

Jesus calls on us to love everyone and everything, but not to love evil, which has no positive existence of its own. We are to love every creature, for each one was loved into existence by God and deserves an equal quantity of love.

As I read the new encyclical on our responsibility to care for the environment, I found myself remembering the words of Father Zossima in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. The saintly old monk reminds us that the animals praise God with a perfect absence of selfishness.

Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat? – John 6.5

'Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?'

John 6.5

"All creation and all creatures, every leaf is striving to the Word, singing glory to God, weeping to Christ unconsciously accomplishing this by the mystery of their sinless life."

Perhaps he was thinking of today's Responsorial Psalm. "All your creatures shall thank you, Lord." God, for his part, opens his hand and "satisfies the desire of all living creatures." This is how he shows his love.

We, too, also need to show our love by generosity, but this does not just manifest itself financially. In today's Gospel, Jesus tells Philip to feed the crowds, much like his Father feeds the animals.

Philip protests that half a year's wages could not feed the crowd. He was right; money is not enough; works are not enough. But the Apostles simply give of what little they have ("Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you"), as the prophet does in the Old Testament reading.

We may seem to have nothing, but God created the universe out of nothing.

A Family Circus cartoon has the mother being asked, "How do you divide your love among four children?" "I don't divide it," she explains. "I multiply it."

This is what St. Paul encourages in the Second Reading. "With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love."

The Catholic Catechism gives us a picture of what this support looks like in its section explaining the communion of saints (946-962). The communion of saints means sharing our spiritual gifts.

What does that mean? Ask yourself something today: When I tell someone that I will pray for them, do I? Do I pray for them more than once? Do I talk to them later to follow up on how they're doing?

Or, do I simply tell them, "I'll pray for you," as a way of cheering them up, without actually doing it?

Don't underestimate how God can bless people through your little prayers. Sometimes it can be hard to pray. But, then again, love isn't always easy.