AD SENSE

18th Sunday A: Multiplication



5 Sundays: Summary

1) Preparing the soil: Meek and humble of heart. The word humility comes from the Latin, humus which means earth. Be earthy, natural, without put on. That's the sort of soil.
2) Types of soil: Defiant (rocky/stony), distracted (thorny) and defeated (birds picking or people trampling). Ignatius of Loyola had a defiant and distracted heart in the beginning but never defeated.

3) Wheat and weeds: The good and the bad in our lives, in the world. Peace and war, violence and charity..... There will be a day of judgment, reconciliation... Ignatius spent much time in discernment - the lady or the Lord for whom I am going to be heroic. 10 months at the cave by the river at Manresa eight miles from the place of his conversation at the Benedictine monastery in Monserrat.
4) Treasure in the field:  So much hidden in each of us. In every seed. Being discovered. But there is a selling my ways and plans, styles and attitudes to get that. Not what was lost and but with what is left in us. But we must discern good and bad choices like selecting the fish. Don't take anything that comes on our way. Ignatius finally with his companions finds the treasure in the Society of Jesus at Montmartre in France - they founded the society on August 15, 1534.
5) Multiplication: This is the completion of the fruit of the earth. From humility, from surrender, with what was left and not about lost out there. Thanksgiving means giving. When the fruits are brought to the Lord for sharing,, when we sit together at the banquet of the Lord, when we relax with the Lord with our families -- away from our work and activities. A good vacation becomes our vocation. Relax with the Lord can be a good prayer. Those who are labored and burdened, come to me. Jesuits spread to 112 countries in 6 continents, now numbering over 17,000.
Whatever we place in God's hands, he is going to multiply. "You give them" has the answer to the worlds problems. That's how God has always worked. Bring them to me. Take, bless, break, and give.....Principle of life. In every child birth, a woman takes, blesses, breaks her body and give to the world a beautiful gift many times greater than what she received...."I held many things in my hand, but I lost them all. Whatever I have placed in the Lord's hands, I still possess them" (MLK)

-Tony Kayala, c.s.c.
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From the Connections:

Taking the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven, Jesus said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
Matthew 14: 13-21

What’s for dinner?
It’s a miracle you can re-create every evening in your own home.
First, everyone makes the time to be there.  Work, meetings, sports and school projects are put on hold.  Dinner time is sacred.
Next, everybody helps.  The younger kids set the table, the older kids learn to cook.  And during the week, everyone contributes to the tasks of meal planning and shopping.
When you sit down together, remember those who are away or who are no longer at your table.  Make a grandmother’s special soup and allow the children to savor her loving care much the way Mom and Dad did.  Give thanks for the neighbor whose garden provided the tomatoes in the salad.
And begin and end with gratitude.  Start with grace — with everyone participating.  Keep a candle lit on your table as a sign of God’s loving presence in your midst.  Literally break bread together — one person breaks off a small piece and passes the bread to the next person.
Meals are more than fueling stops for the body — meals enable families to experience the love and consolation that makes a household a family.  Family members who withdraw to different corners of the house to watch TV or work over a microwave meal sacrifice much more than nutrition.
The sharing of food is often the shape that love takes.

[Adapted from the essay “What’s for dinner?  A spoonful of cooperation, a pinch of memories, and a dash of prayer create family peace” by Mary Lynn Hendrickson, U.S. Catholic, April 2008.]

What happened in that “deserted place” when Jesus fed the crowds can happen in our own homes — not that we can take a few of fish sticks and a couple of dinner rolls and feed five thousand unexpected guests, but we can reconnect as a family over the gifts of God’s good earth.  More astounding than Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is Jesus’ transforming them into a community, a community who becomes one in their need, one in the bread they share, one in the love of Christ who has brought them together.  Jesus empowers every one of us to perform our own miracle by imitating his three actions in today’s Gospel: to “bless” and give thanks for what God has given to us; to “break” from our blessings (including our time and energy) in order to contribute to the good of all; to share — to both give and receive — to realize the joys of loving family and community.  
 
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Like the manna in the desert, bread in plenty for the crowds is seen as a sign of the coming of the kingdom and of the heavenly banquet in the end times. The actions of Jesus in the desert are described in the same way as his actions at the Last Supper: he takes, blesses, breaks and gives.
Gospel text : Matt 14:13-21
vs.13 When Jesus received the news of John the Baptist’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves.
Jesus feeding the 5000vs.14  But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd, and he took pity on them and healed their sick.
vs.15  When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.”
vs.16  Jesus replied, “There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.”
vs.17  But they answered, “All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.”
vs.18  “Bring them here to me” he said.
vs.19  He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves he handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds.
vs.20  They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining, twelve baskets full.
vs.21  Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.
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Michel DeVerteuil
Lectio Divina with the Sunday Gospels- Year A
www.columba.ie
General and Textual Comments
This Sunday’s passage is in two sections:
– Verses 13 and 14 tell a story which typifies Jesus’ ministry. We can read it from two perspectives:
a) Jesus as experienced by the people. He was the kind of leader people feel drawn to; they “go after him” even if they have to go “on foot” and even when he and his disciples are saddened by bad news and “withdraw by boat to a lonely place where they can be by themselves”.
b) Jesus as he is in himself:
– sensitive so that when he hears that a great man has been martyred, he feels the need to withdraw to a lonely place;
– selfless so that even in a time of personal distress he finds the resources to reach out to those in need; he lets them bring out the best in himself.
The story invites us to celebrate leaders like Jesus. It also calls us to repentance so that we can be more like him, as bread&fishindividuals and as a Church. – The story of Jesus’ miraculous feeding (verses 15 to 21) is unique in that it is told five times in the gospels – twice in St Matthew (here and in 15:32-38) and once in each of the other gospels. Clearly, the early Christians considered the incident crucial for understanding the person and ministry of Jesus.  Each of the five accounts has details which are special to it and bring out its particular emphases. We take the account before us as the Word of God addressed to us here and now; we don’t refer to the other accounts.
We can read the story as a teaching on the Eucharist (and this is how it is often read in the church) but it is better to read it in a wider sense, as a general teaching on Jesus’ mission in the world. Reading the story in this way reminds us that the Eucharist is itself a living lesson (“sacrament”) of Jesus’ mission – and ours too. This is a point I developed in my booklet, The Eucharist as Word (published in 2001 by Veritas).
It is significant that the story does not lay emphasis on the the miracle itself but on the gestures which precede and follow it – another indication that the miracle of the feeding is a “sign”, a  lesson about life that we are called to celebrate and imitate. Being followers of Jesus does not mean having to “work miracles” as he did. Though we may occasionally do extraordinary things, we must always see them as exceptional. What we are called to do always is to adopt his attitudes, expressed by his gestures in today’s story.
We can identify three stages in the story.
– A preliminary stage in verses 15 to 17. These verses present a striking contrast between Jesus’ approach and that of his disciples:
– the disciples want Jesus to “send the people away”; he says, “give them something to eat yourselves”;
– they speak disparagingly of their situation, “all we have is five loaves and two fish”; he welcomes what they have – “bring them  here to me”.
As always, we are invited to recognise that we have lived both stories. Jesus is our story of grace which we celebrate; the disciples are our story of sin for which we repent.
– The miracle itself in verses 18 and 19. Here the focus is on Jesus alone:
– he orders the people to sit down on the grass; he is in control and does things in an  orderly way;
– he takes the five loaves and two fish, raises his eyes to heaven and says the blessing; he is humble and reverent in the presence of the Giver of all gifts;
– he breaks the loaves and hands them to his disciples who give them to the crowd; he shares the food and shares his authority.
– The fruit of the miracle in verse 20. Two points are made, applicable both to the Eucharist and to Jesus’ entire mission:
– “They ate as much as they wanted” reminds us that the Eucharist “contains in itself all sweetness,”
according to an ancient antiphon; it also reminds us that in “Jesus communities”  the needs of all are looked after.
– “They collected the scraps remaining, twelve baskets full” brings out two points:
– the food is abundant, true of the Eucharist and of Jesus’ ministry in general;
– the people receive it with reverence, also true of the Eucharist (the church has seen the veneration of the Real Presence as the fulfillment of this text) and of Jesus’ ministry. In “Jesus communities” people appreciate what they receive, and do not waste it (contrast with the fast food industry).
Prayer Reflections
need7greedLord, the reason why there is not sufficient food in the world today
is that people are not concerned for one another.
When the prosperous see others in need they respond like the disciples.
They want to send them away and tell them to go to the villages
to buy themselves some food,
although they know perfectly well that in fact
there is nothing in the villages for them to buy.
Send us leaders like Jesus
who will tell us that there is no need for the crowds to go away,
since we can give them something to eat ourselves.
Even if all we have with us is five loaves and two fish, we can bring them to you
and raise our eyes to heaven in thanksgiving for what we have.
All will eat as much as they want,
and in fact there will be basketfuls of scraps remaining.
Lord, we thank you for our (Caribbean) housewives.
When visitors come to their homes and evening comes,
they don’t send them away to buy themselves some food.
They tell their children, “Let us give them something to eat ourselves.”
They take whatever five loaves and two fish they have,
raise their eyes to heaven and say the blessing,
and then share with their guests.
A strange thing happens – all eat as much as they want.
But these women don’t waste anything;
they carefully collect whatever scraps remain.
Lord, we pastors tend to look on our ministry as an eight-to-four job.
When we have ministered to people and healed their sick we feel we have done enough.
Like the disciples of Jesus, when evening comes we want to dismiss them.
Teach us rather to be like him, to let the people stay with us,
and to share what we have with them.
Development is the capacity of a society to tap the roots of popular creativity,
       to free and empower people to exercise their intelligence and collective wisdom.”    … Kari Leavitt, Canadian economist

Lord,
 we pray for those who work in community development,

especially in Third World countries.
Often, when they find that a community lacks something,
their first thought is to send the people to get it elsewhere.
Teach them to be like Jesus, to say to local leaders, “Bring what you have here to me,”
bread&eucharistto thank you for what they bring,
and then hand it back to the leaders to give to the crowds,
trusting that all will have as much as they want.
Lord, we thank you for the Eucharist,
for the many times we were in a lonely place,
and your priest took bread, raised his eyes to heaven, said the prayer of blessing,
then he broke the bread and gave it to us,
so that we ate as much as we wanted.
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Thomas O’Loughlin
Liturgical Resources for the Year of Matthew
www.columba.ie
Introduction to the Celebration
Today we recall one of the great miracles of Jesus: a large group came to hear him and he saw their need and fed them with five loaves and two fish. We might look back and think that that is just a story, yet here we are today being fed by him at his table. We might look back and think that things like that do not happen, yet here are we who still look to him for the bread of life to give us strength and hope in our lives. We might look back and think of the miracles as just fables, yet we too gather today to listen to his teaching as the word of life.
Homily Notes
Jesus and miracles1. Miracles cause embarrassment within our world. The mirac­ulous is suspected as fraud or foolishness; those who accept them as the gullible. Indeed, the whole study of the scrip­tures has been linked with the case for or against miracles: can one accept the teaching of the scriptures, yet leave this whole miraculous dimension parked somewhere either out of sight or somewhere it will not provoke questions such as ‘Do you think that actually happened?’ The problem is that so long as we read the primary stories of the tradition, we will encounter miracle stories like this one. So how do we react?
2. First, we must be honest about our own discomfort with such questions. Many people who grow up within the faith, when they begin to question, hear us refer to these miracles (with­out noting our discomfort or even admitting how they are not harmonious with our sense of rationality) just abandon belief on the secularist assumption that miracles are the province of the simple-minded and such ‘beliefs’ are endemic to religion, so the whole should be abandoned as a fairy tale. For anyone today, such stories as are found in today’s gospel should raise eyebrows.
3. Why do we find miracle stories a problem anyway? Most people in our society use a very simple model of what constitutes ‘truth.’ Truth is no more and no less than what can be observed by the senses directly. This model of truth has replaced the classical, medieval, renaissance, and now even the Marxist ways of viewing reality. This is not ex­pressed by the average person as they go about the shopping in terms of a theory of verification; it is expressed far more concretely with something like: ‘Well if I were there on that lakeside with Jesus what would I have seen? Would I have been able to video it if there were videos?’ If the answer is no, then it is ‘just a story’ (and we know that when something is just a story, then it is lies). If truth is just what you can video, then meaning, values, belonging (at the lower level), justice,
Here we have the mystery of our own gathering: it is no ordi­nary feeding, no ordinary meal. It is with Jesus we have gath­ered, not just us but communities in literally thousands upon thousands of gatherings at the same time. Yet all are hearing the same Jesus, and being taught by him, and are with him as he offers the prayer of thanksgiving to the Father – just look at the words we will use with regard to our bread: ‘Blessed are you Lord, God of all creation … ‘ – and all of us are going to eat the loaf broken by him.
If we realise we have to expand our minds to take in the meaning of the miracle in today’s gospel, we will see that we have to expand our minds in just the same way to take in the mystery we are celebrating in our gathering today beauty and love (at a higher level), and the mystery of God interacting with us (at the highest level) are all just stories.
4. Whenever we encounter their more precious aspects of life we know that they are more than we can see or touch or taste, yet we only meet them amidst the fractured moments of daily existence. So to bring out the significant within the everyday our memory extracts, combines, and presents the meaning in restructured historical narrative. We all know this in our everyday lives when we try to make sense of expe­rience by highlighting, dramatising, and exaggerating some aspects of the past so that the structure of meaning stands out. Here lies the role of the miracle story for it is the memory, here that of the community, restructuring events to bring out meaning. Nowhere is this gift more needed than in seeking to speak of the mysteries of God, and for us whose faith is founded in the Word made flesh this means that we express the totality of our beliefs about Jesus in stories anchored (on the one hand) in times and places, yet (on the other hand) greater in their dimensions than the scope of normal space and time. Such memories, elucidating the mystery of the Son of God who is the man Jesus, are our miracle stories. We need stories bigger than what our videos can record for mysteries bigger than our physical senses.
5. So what aspect of the mystery of the presence of the Word made flesh are Matthew, the churches who heard him, the later churches that read him down to this assembly today, re­membering in the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 men? This is the genuine question we are called to reflect on and believe, not the question of the video camera.
50006. Just look at what the scene involves. We have a people gath­ered. They are listening to Jesus and being taught by him. We have people wanting food. We have loaves. We have Jesus blessing the Father (i.e. he offers a prayer of thanksgiving to the Father for the gift of the food; and note that he blesses God, not the loaves). Then Jesus breaks the loaves. And from a few loaves a whole multitude was able to eat as much as they wanted.
7. Here we have the mystery of our own gathering: it is no ordi­nary feeding, no ordinary meal. It is with Jesus we have gath­ered, not just us but communities in literally thousands upon thousands of gatherings at the same time. Yet all are hearing the same Jesus, and being taught by him, and are with him as he offers the prayer of thanksgiving to the Father – just look at the words we will use with regard to our bread: ‘Blessed are you Lord, God of all creation … ‘ – and all of us are going to eat the loaf broken by him.
8. If we realise we have to expand our minds to take in the meaning of the miracle in today’s gospel, we will see that we have to expand our minds in just the same way to take in the mystery we are celebrating in our gathering today.
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John Litteton
Journeying through the Year of Matthew
www.Columba.ie
Gospel Reflection
In the story of the loaves and fish, we learn about Jesus feeding the hungry crowd by multiplying five loaves and two fish. He did this because he was concerned for the people who had stayed with him and listened to him. In a sense, he was grateful to them for listening to him talking about the kingdom of heaven.
Initially, when his disciples advised him to send the people away, he challenged them to feed the crowd themselves. However, when they admitted that they were powerless, he taught and empowered them by example.
This is significant because Jesus always practised what he preached and he never asked others to do what he was unwilling to do himself. He satisfied the crowd’s physical hunger and, in doing so, he enhanced the authority of what he had already said to them. Jesus had enough for everybody and still some remaining.
Interestingly, the multiplication of the loaves and fish is Jesus’ only public miracle that is recorded in each of the four gospels, thus stressing its importance for the Christian community. The love and generosity of Jesus in tending to the needs of the hungry crowd offer us an insight into his own total self-giving for others at the Last Supper and in his suffering and death.
Last SupperJesus’ miracle of the loaves and fish, which responded to the physical hunger of the crowd, foreshadowed his miracle at the Last Supper when he shared himself in the Eucharist — the Bread of Life — with his disciples, thereby satisfying their spiritual hunger.
The lesson of the miracle of the loaves and fish is obvious: by portraying Jesus as doing what God did for the Israelites in the desert, by giving them manna, the evangelist is forging an identity between Jesus and God. Jesus, who responded to and reached out to people in their need, wants his followers to do the same. The question for all of us is: In what ways do we share ourselves, our gifts and our time with other people when they are needy? In other words, what are we prepared to do to help people avoid sin and facilitate the salvation of their souls? We are challenged to appreciate one another just as Jesus appreciated the crowd that had gathered to listen to him.
It can be extremely difficult to put other people’s needs before our own. However, that is what we are called to do as Christian disciples. In the miracle of the loaves and fish, Jesus relied on his Father’s help as he responded to a crisis. Likewise, we, Jesus’ disciples, need to rely on his help as we respond to crises and needs.
Can we, by our convictions and lifestyles, satisfy the hunger in other people’s lives? In the same spirit, can we desist from asking other people to do what we are unwilling to do ourselves? Let us, therefore, give generously and receive graciously, always imitating the generosity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
For meditation
They all ate as much as they wanted,
                      and they collected the scraps remaining,
                                                                         twelve baskets full.     (Mt 14:20)
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Donal Neary SJ
Gospel Reflections
www.messenger.ie/bookshop/
Feeding the needy Pope Francis remarks:
We find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy caring for the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry because he is thirsty because he is naked, because he is humiliated, because he is a slave, because he is in jail, because he is in the hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus today. And Jesus asks us to take a leap of faith, towards him, but through his wounds in his people today We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, and we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and this literally. Just think of what happened to St Francis, when he embraced the leper. (May 2016)
This is what is behind Jesus’ wish to feed the hungry. He feeds bread for physical hunger, but the story of the gospel today is more than bread for hungry people. It is getting fully involved in the lives of those in need. It is the calling of the church: to practise the works of mercy.
Any Christian group, parish or otherwise, tries to reach out to those most in need in their area. Today the hungry need to be fed, refugees and homeless need a home, and those wounded by life need healing. The call of the church is truly to be ‘the field hospital’ of Jesus and his disciples in the world.
Think of someone really poor;
see Jesus beside him or her.
Pray as you feel drawn.
Give us today, O Lord, and to all our world, our daily bread.

Reflections:

THE WORD:

The multiplication of the loaves and fish is the only one of Jesus’ miracles recorded in all four Gospels.  The early Christian community especially cherished this story because they saw this event as anticipating the Eucharist and the final banquet in the kingdom of God.  This miracle also has strong roots in the First Testament.  For the peoples of both the First and New Testament, the image of a great banquet was an important visualization of the reign of God: the gifts of the land were unmistakable signs of their God’s great Providence; the Messiah’s coming was often portrayed as a great banquet with choice food and wines; the miracle of the loaves and fishes is a clear affirmation in God's providence.  Just as the merciful God feeds the wandering Israelites with manna in the desert, Jesus, “his heart moved with pity,” feeds the crowds who have come to hear him.
In Matthew’s account, Jesus acts out of his great compassion on the crowds.  First, he challenges the disciples to give what they have -- five loaves and two fish.  Then he performs the four-fold action that prefigures the Eucharist: Jesus takes, blesses, breaks and gives the bread and fish to the assembled multitude, making of them a community of the Lord's banquet. 

HOMILY POINTS:
Given the many demands on our time and the expectations of work and school, we need to make time for that “out of that way” place to power down and re-connect with God and with one another.  Our spirits need quiet deserts and sacred time where and when we can escape the clamor of the marketplace and the tyranny of our calendars to experience the peace of being alone with God, to listen to the voice of God in the quiet of our hearts, to know the joy of doing simple, humble things for others.  
More astounding than Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is Jesus’ transforming them into a community, a community who becomes one in their need, one in the bread they share, one in the love of Christ who has brought them together. 
We, too, can perform wonders in our own time and place by imitating the four “Eucharistic verbs of Jesus: to take humbly and generously from what we have been given by God, to bless by offering it to others in God’s love, to break from our own needs and interests for the sake of others, to give with joy-filled gratitude to the God who has blessed us with so much
The bread of the Eucharist, which we share together in charity and faith, is a prelude to the great banquet of the next world to which our loving Father invites us.
Christ calls us to become a Eucharistic people: to become the Eucharist we have received.

Illustrations: 

Charles Swindoll tells a funny story about a nine-year-old named Danny who came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild stallion. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either mom or dad. Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his Daddy by the leg and yelled, "Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!" His father looked down, smiled, and asked the boy to tell him about it.

"Well, the Israelites got out of Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them. So the Jews ran as fast as they could until they got to the Red Sea. The Egyptian Army was gettin' closer and closer. So Moses got on his walkie-talkie and told the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians. While that was happening, the Israeli Navy built a pontoon bridge so the people could cross over. They made it!

By now old dad was shocked. "Is THAT the way they taught you the story?"

Well, no, not exactly," Danny admitted, "but if I told you the way they told it to us, you'd never believe it, Dad."

With childlike innocence the little guy put his finger on the pulse of our sophisticated adult world where cool skepticism reigns supreme. It's more popular to operate in the black-and-white world of facts...and, of course, to leave no space for the miraculous.

And so when we read the story of the feeding of the five thousand, we tend to focus our attention on the question, "Did it really happen?" There have been a number of attempts to "explain" the miracle. One attempt says that the people were so moved by Jesus' generosity and the generosity of the little boy that they brought forth the food they had hidden under their clothes and in their traveling pouches. This way everyone was satisfied. Another theory says that the story is not really talking about physical hunger but spiritual hunger. When the small amount of food was passed around everyone tore off a minuscule symbolic fragment. In this Jesus is said to have satisfied the thirst of the soul not the stomach.

I think these questions say more about us than they do Jesus..
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If you want to guarantee you will never win public office or be appointed to public service, just say these words: "America is no longer the greatest nation in the world." It used to be the US led the world in almost any category you could think of. But in the past 50 years we've fallen to 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number four in labor force, number four in exports. I'll stop there. You've got the picture.  
US does lead the world in some things.
We lead the world in television watching...28 hours/week.
We lead the world as the most expensive place to have a baby...about $10,000/child.
We lead the world in obesity (although Mexico is closing the gap fast).
We lead the world in anxiety disorders.
We lead the world in civilian firearms, beating out Yemen, Serbia and Iraq. The US now has more guns than people.
We lead the world in the highest incarceration rates, beating out Russia, China, Cuba and Iran. Our total prison population, including pre-trial detainees and remand prisoners, is 2,239,751.
We lead the world in the highest health expenditures.
We lead the world in the highest cocaine rates, although we're pretty much tied with Spain in this category.
But one category we beat the rest of the world hands-down. NO contest. Not even close. We are #1 in NOT taking vacations. We are the worst vacationers in the world.  
We stink - or excel, depending on how you see it - at taking vacation time, even when it's rightfully ours. Throughout Europe there are statutory minimum vacation days that employees MUST take. The minimum is 25 days. Twenty-five days! Believe you me, these European workers take each and every one of them....
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 And Hungry People Were Fed

A number of years ago young Matthew LeSage, a third-grader, wanted to do something to help the hungry in his city. So he started a program, Hams for the Hungry. In its fourth year, Hams for the Hungry raised $40,000 to brighten the holiday season for people with limited resources.

Matthew's story reminds me of another young man, 13 years old at the time, who read about Dr. Albert Schweitzer's missionary work in Africa. He wanted to help. He had enough money to buy one bottle of aspirin. He wrote to the Air Force and asked if they could fly over Dr. Schweitzer's hospital and drop the bottle down to him. A radio station broadcast the story about this young fellow's concern for helping others. Others responded as well. Eventually, he was flown by the government to Schweitzer's hospital along with 4 1/2 tons of medical supplies worth $400,000 freely given by thousands of people. This, of course, would be the equivalent of millions of dollars today. When Dr. Schweitzer heard the story, he said, "I never thought one child could do so much."

Our story from scripture for today is about a young man who didn't have much. But what he did have, he offered to Christ. And thousands of hungry people were fed.
King Duncan, You Feed Them!, www.Sermons.com
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The Law of Abundance  
Stephen Covey, in his "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", talks about the Law of Abundance vs. the Law of Scarcity. There's plenty to go around. And the more you give, the more you have to give. But how interesting! Covey writes about this, and folks act like it is new. Jesus performed it, 2000 years ago, on a rocky hillside in Palestine. There is plenty of Jesus to go around! 
Doyle Sager, Everyone Ate, Everyone Was Filled
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It Don't Add Up 
Perhaps you have heard the story of the football coach who had two quarterbacks. The first team quarterback was gifted, aggressive, and a born leader. The second string quarterback was, let us say, limited. Oh, he was athletic enough but unfortunately, he lacked a mind for strategy. The championship game was in progress, the score was tied, the home team had the ball, and the clock was ticking down. An opposing player broke through the line of scrimmage and slammed the star quarterback to the ground with such force that the signal-caller had to leave the game. Time was running out. The coach had no choice but to put in the back-up. The substitute trotted onto the field, huddled the team, and strode up to the line of scrimmage. 
Surveying the opposing team, and much to everyone's surprise, he changed the play at the line. The ball was snapped, the quarterback handed it off to the half-back who busted up the middle and sped all the way into the end zone with the winning touchdown! An amazing play. Moments later, in the ecstatic dressing room, the coach grabbed his second-team quarterback by the shoulder pads and said, "Son, that was great! How did you know to call that play?" The boy said, "Uh, well coach, it weren't easy. I got up to the line and looked across at two of the biggest players I've ever seen and I seen their numbers. One of 'em was wearing a six and the other one was wearing a seven, so I just added them numbers together and got fourteen and called number fourteen." The coach hesitated a moment and said, "But son, six and seven make 13." 
The boy, quite unmoved by the correction, said, "You know what coach? If I was as smart as you, we would have lost the game." Things do not always add up the way they are supposed to, do they? 
Traditional Stories, www.Sermons.com
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The Negative Verses the Positive
 Outside a small town in New Mexico is a sign that reads as follows: "Welcome to Portales, New Mexico, home of 12,493 friendly folks and 8 or 10 grouches."
 Isn't that the way it is everywhere? There are always a few negative folks around to tell you that Murphy's laws will ruin everything. I like the story about the little boy who was trying to raise some money by collecting old bottles, going door-to-door in his neighborhood. When he came to the home of a woman who was the "town grouch," the little boy asked, "Do you have any coke bottles?" "No," she replied with a scowl. Then he said, "Do you have any old whiskey bottles?" "Young man," the woman replied, "Do I look like the type of person who would have old whiskey bottles?"
The little boy studied her for a moment and then asked, "Well, do you have any old vinegar bottles?"
Isn't it tragic that some people go through life so negative and sour and bitter? And if you don't watch out, they will infect you with their thinking.
How can we live positively in this world where much is discouraging? I think I see some clues in one of the miracle stories of the Bible. Jesus once fed 10,000 people with only five loaves of barley bread and two little fish. The disciples saw the negatives but Jesus understood the positive presence of a little food.  
Bill Bouknight, www.Sermons.com
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Before We Taste Abundance  
How often it is that we do not seek God from the fullness of our lives, but from the dearth. We are regularly reminded that as Christians, we do best when we live out of our 'theology of abundance' rather than scarcity. However, the reality is we more clearly see our need for God from our times and places of pain. Even Jesus took time to go "to a deserted place by himself". He knew he needed to clear his mind of all the insults, false accusations and the conceit. Before we taste of the abundance given to us from God through Christ, we are invited to the deserted place apart. We are invited to come to a place of hunger. We are called toward a time of separation so that we can more clearly focus on who and what we have.  
Wanda Copeland, Reflection on Matthew 14: 13-21.
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"You Feed Them."
Tony Campolo is a professor of sociology and a popular speaker. He was once invited to a women's conference where he was to give a major address. These women were being challenged to raise several thousand dollars for a mission project goal. While Campolo was sitting on the dais, the chairperson turned to him and asked him if he would pray for God's blessing as they considered their individual responses to the goal. Campolo stood and--to the utter amazement of everyone present--graciously said "no." He approached the microphone and said, "You already have all the resources necessary to complete this mission project right here within this room. It would be inappropriate to ask for God's blessing, when in fact God has already blessed you with the abundance and the means to achieve this goal. The necessary gifts are in your hands. As soon as we take the offering and underwrite this mission project, we will thank God for freeing us to be the generous, responsible and accountable stewards that we're called to be as Christian disciples." And they did. 

Wow! Leave it to Tony Campolo to hit the nail right on the thumb! Jesus says, "You feed them!" And we can! This is a rich world and we are rich people!  
King Duncan, "You Feed Them!"
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Taking Care of the Crowd  
Too often, we think that giving our lives to God is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the altar, saying, "Here's my life, Lord. I'm giving it all to you." But the truth of the matter is that God sends us to the bank and tells us to cash that $1,000 bill in for quarters. And then we go through life giving away twenty-five cents here, fifty cents there, and so on. Instead of watching a ball game, we spend some time visiting a lonely person in a nursing home who has no family. Instead of sipping coffee and reading the newspaper, we get dressed and go to teach Sunday school. Instead of playing games on the computer, we listen to a friend tell us about her problems, even though we're tired and have problems of our own to deal with.

These are the moments in which the grace of God can work through us to help another human being, to feed the hunger of the heart and spirit. They may not be spectacular miracles, but these are the things we can do to bring meaning and significance to our lives.  
Johnny Dean, How Much Is Enough?
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Use What You Have...  
In 1872, at the age of 16, Booker T. Washington decided he wanted to go to school. He walked 500 miles to Hampton Institute in Virginia, and presented himself to the head teacher. Washington later recalled, "Having been so long without proper food, a bath, and change of clothing, I did not make a very favorable impression upon her, and I could see at once that there were doubts in her mind about me."
Finally she said to him, "The adjoining recitation room needs cleaning. Take the broom and do it." A lesser person might have been insulted by being assigned menial work. But Washington recognized immediately that this was his big chance. He swept that room three times and dusted it four times. He even cleaned the walls and the closets. Then he reported to the head teacher that the job was finished. She examined that room like a drill sergeant.  She even took a handkerchief and rubbed it across the top of a door. When she could not find a particle of dirt, she said, "I guess you will do to enter this institution."

As a 16-year-old, Washington could not do many things. But he could clean a room. And he did it gloriously. Extraordinary living begins with using what we have. What gifts and graces do you have that you have not fully activated?2


From the Collection of Fr. Tony Kadavil: 


1: “I shared my rice because she has several starving children:” From her personal experience, Mother Teresa relates a story showing how generous the poor are, and how ready to share what little they have with others because they themselves have experienced hunger and poverty. Learning of a poor Hindu family in Calcutta who had been starving for many days, Mother Teresa visited them and gave a parcel of rice to the mother of the family.   She was surprised to see that the woman divided the rice into two equal portions and gave one to her Moslem neighbor.    When Mother Teresa asked her why she had done such a sacrificial deed, the woman replied: “My family can manage with half of what you brought.  My neighbor’s family is in greater need because they have several children who are starving.” In the Synoptic Gospels’ account, the Apostles (in John’s account, a young boy), gave Jesus all they/he had — five small loaves of barley bread and two dried fish, — and Jesus used that tiny amount to feed a multitude. Thus, either the apostles, or the young boy, became the instrument of a miracle in Jesus’ hands. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

2: “Cheeseburger Bill:” Statistics tell us that Americans eat 75 acres of pizza, 53 million hot dogs, 167 million eggs, 3 million gallons of ice cream, and 3,000 tons of candy a day. As a result, fifty-five percent of American adults are overweight and 23 percent of us are obese, costing this country about $118 billion in lost wages and medical expenses annually. On March 10, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill known as the “Cheeseburger Bill” designed to protect fast food companies from lawsuits filed by overweight people. One billion of the world’s richest people consume 80 percent of the earth’s resources. Another five billion consume 15 percent, leaving 5% for 840 million chronically malnourished people, most of them women and children. Seven million children in the world under the age of five die each year from malnutrition. Someone has noted that the average person BLINKS his eyes 13 times every minute, and in every minute 13 people starve to death. Even in the U.S., there are 3.8 million families who experience hunger, and up to 12 million families are concerned about having enough food to feed their families. The problem is not how much food is available; the problem is distribution. In the U.S., food production has tripled since World War II while the population has only doubled, so why are there hungry people? The percent of personal income given to charity in the United States was 2.9 percent during the Great Depression and 2.5 percent in 2002 and less in 2014. Is hunger a problem of production or a lack of faith? Hunger is real. And food is the subject of the miracle in today’s Gospel when Jesus miraculously fed the nearly 20,000 people present on that Galilean hillside. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

3: Frightening Hunger statistics: Statisticians report that for at least two thirds of the world’s population, hunger is a daily experience — not the slight twinge of discomfort or abdominal rumbling which may occur if a meal is skipped or delayed, but the deep, painful, sunken-eyed, body-emaciating type of hunger which is virtual starvation. Every hour of every day, at least 1500 people die of hunger or hunger-related causes while farmers in some of the world’s wealthiest industrialized nations are paid not to grow certain crops and to relegate others to storage bins and warehouses. To further compound this untenable situation, billions of dollars is spent annually on a variety of weight loss products and programs because one third of the world’s population is sated with seventy-five percent of its food supply. Since most of the readers of this publication are probably among the fortunate, for whom physical hunger is not a routine experience, it may be difficult to fully appreciate the impact of today’s readings. In both the first reading and the Gospel, the hungry are called to come and be filled at the banquet which the Lord freely provides. The significance of these readings lies in the fact that, in addition to providing for their physical appetites, the Lord is also offering to satisfy the spiritual hungers of His people. (Sanchez Files). . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

4: Hams for the Hungry and Aspirin for the sick: Four years ago, young Matthew LeSage, a third-grader, wanted to do something to help the hungry in his city. So, he started a program, Hams for the Hungry. This year, in its fourth year, Hams for the Hungry will raise $40,000 to brighten the holiday season for people with limited resources. Matthew’s story reminds me of another young man, 13 years old at the time, who read about Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s missionary work in Africa. He wanted to help. He had enough money to buy one bottle of aspirin. He wrote to the Air Force and asked if they could fly over Dr. Schweitzer’s hospital and drop the bottle down to him. A radio station broadcast the story about this young fellow’s concern for helping others. Others responded as well. Eventually, he was flown by the government to Schweitzer’s hospital along with 4 1/2 tons of medical supplies worth $400,000 freely given by thousands of people. This, of course, would be the equivalent of millions of dollars today. When Dr. Schweitzer heard the story, he said, “I never thought one child could do so much.” In John’s account, our story from Matthew’s Gospel is about a young man who didn’t have much. But what he did have, he offered to Christ. And thousands of hungry people were fed. . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

5.  A nervous young priest, concluding his first sermon, told the flock, “For my text next Sunday, I will take the words, “And they fed five men with five thousand loaves of bread and two thousand fishes.” A member of the flock raised his hand and said, “That’s not much of a trick. I could do that.” The priest didn’t respond. However, the next Sunday he
decided to repeat the text. This time he did it properly, “And they fed five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fishes.” Smiling, the priest said to the noisy man, “Could you do that, Mr. Perkins?” The member of the flock said, “I sure could.” “How would you do it?” asked the minister.
“With all the food I had left over from last Sunday!”

20- Additional anecdotes

1) We are over-eating ourselves to death: Experts tell us that Americans are over-eating themselves to death. Obesity is America’s number one health problem. The average American eats daily nine hundred more calories than he needs. It is reported that fifty percent of us are overweight. Fifty-three percent of the deaths are caused by diseases that are related to obesity. Americans spend annually ten billion dollars on diets and slimming programs. Even our dogs are over-fed. Look at the miserable contrast: the overfilled stomachs of dogs almost touching the ground and the bloated stomachs of children suffering from malnutrition! If we had compassion on the poor and hungry, we would voluntarily change our life-styles to those which would call for less food in-take. Then, we could take the money saved from buying less food and give it to our Church’s program to send food abroad to the destitute. One denomination within a two-year period gave eight million dollars for world hunger. This was possible because loyal members sacrificed by eating less that others might eat more. Jesus gave the bread to the apostles to distribute to the people. In our day those who have food, as America does, should have the compassion of Jesus to share with those who have little or no food. . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

2) Spiritual hunger leading people to New Age religions: Physical hunger is a very real fact of life. Spiritual hunger is just as real., and there are many millions more who are spiritually malnourished, while multitudes are dying of spiritual starvation. Many of the symptoms of spiritual hunger are seen here and all over the world. We see today spiritually hungry people who are going outside the Church for soul food. This is a judgment upon the Church for apparently not satisfying the spiritual needs of the people. Forty-two million Americans, for instance, or one out of every five, has espoused astrology. They believe that the position of the stars has something to do with their daily lives. Two-thirds of our newspapers carry a daily horoscope. Eight out of every ten Americans can tell you under what star they were born. This turning to astrology is an indication that people are looking for something transcendent; they are looking for guidance from a force beyond themselves. Six million Americans have embraced Transcendental Meditation and thirty thousand new people each month are signing up for instruction. This points to a need for meditation to get in touch with God, something many Church people must feel they are not getting now. Add to this number five million people who are seeking union with God by Yoga. Three million Americans belong to the charismatic movement, meeting a desire for an experience with the Spirit. Many of these charismatics claim that the average church is cold and lacking in spiritual warmth. Add to this, various heretical sects that are attracting people by the tens of thousands: Scientology and the Unification church by Moon. . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

3) Junk food for the souls: What is feeding our spirits? Many Americans get their food from television. It is reported that the average child watches twenty-three hours of television per week. By the time a child reaches age eighteen, he has watched twenty-three thousand hours of television, equivalent to three years of his life. And what do they get on television, what feeds their minds and hearts? They are fed materialism through the constant appearance of commercials, often six at a time. In 1976, it is said, television stations ran three hundred thirty-five thousand commercials per month! In these commercials we are fed with a materialistic view of life. We are told that things make life happy and worthwhile. Buy, buy, and have all the good things in life! In addition, television is feeding us with sex and violence, more of these coming each year. By the time a child reaches age eighteen, it is claimed that he has seen eighteen thousand murders. On children’s television cartoons, an act of violence is shown at the rate of one per minute. These scenes of violence are sowing the seeds of hatred, brutality, and vengefulness in the hearts of people. The tragedy of our times is that we are content to feed our souls with ‘empty calories,” when we could be getting a spiritual banquet. We are living on chaff and husks rather than the good meat of a steak.

4) “You’d never believe it, Dad.” Charles Swindol tells a funny story about a nine-year-old named Danny who came bursting out of Sunday school like a wild stallion. His eyes were darting in every direction as he tried to locate either mom or dad. Finally, after a quick search, he grabbed his Daddy by the leg and yelled, “Man, that story of Moses and all those people crossing the Red Sea was great!” His father looked down, smiled, and asked the boy to tell him about it. “Well, the Israelites got out of Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them. So the Jews ran as fast as they could until they got to the Red Sea. The Egyptian Army was gettin’ closer and closer. So Moses got on his walkie-talkie and told the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians. While that was happening, the Israeli Navy built a pontoon bridge so the people could cross over. They made it!” By now old dad was shocked. “Is THAT the way they taught you the story?” “Well, no, not exactly,” Danny admitted, “but if I told you the way they told it to us, you’d never believe it, Dad.” It’s more popular to operate in the black-and-white world of facts … and, of course, to leave no space for the miraculous. And so when we read the story of the feeding of the five thousand, we tend to focus our attention on the question, “Did it really happen? Or was it a miracle of sharing the bread people had with them? ” Some say that this young fellow’s example encouraged other people to share food they had brought with them for the journey. But today’s Gospel presents it as a real miracle. . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

5) We should rethink our own stewardship of the earth’s resources: Did you know, for example, that six million Europeans eat as much food as 240 million Africans? Even more startling, the citizens of this country, who form only 5.7% of the world’s population, eat half the food produced in the world. Somebody’s eating more than his/her share! We spend ten times more money on the feeding of cats and dogs than the sovereign country of Guinea earns as its national income. We are an indulgent, wasteful people. We each need to examine our stewardship of the bounty with which God has blessed us. . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

6) “I’ll pay it for you.” In 1930, during the Great Depression, a man named Golden Rule Jones was mayor of Toledo, Ohio. During his term of office, he sometimes sat as the presiding judge in night court. One night a man was brought in for stealing money from a grocery store. His defense was that he needed the money for food and that he was simply a victim of hard times. Nevertheless, Golden Rule Jones found him guilty. “You did not steal from society.” he said. “You stole from a private citizen and you broke the law. I’m fining you ten dollars. However,” and he reached for his wallet, “I’ll pay it for you.” Next he instructed the bailiff to pass the hat around the courtroom. “I’m fining everybody here at least fifty cents. You’re all guilty of being members of a society that made it necessary for this man to steal. The collection will go to the defendant.”
7) “Help, I can’t swim:” In one of his books, Chuck Swindoll tells about a very interesting case that came before the courts in the state of Massachusetts back in the 1920s. It concerned a man who had been walking along a pier when suddenly he tripped over a rope and fell into the cold, deep waters of that ocean bay. He came up sputtering, screaming for help, then sank beneath the surface. For some reason he was unable to swim or stay afloat. His friends heard his faint cries in the distance, but they were too far away to rescue him. But within only a few yards was a young man lounging on a deck chair, sunbathing. Not only could the sun-bather hear the drowning man plead, “Help, I can’t swim,” he was also an excellent swimmer. But the tragedy is that he did nothing. He only turned his head to watch indifferently as the man finally sank and drowned. The family of the victim was so upset by that display of extreme indifference, they sued the sun-bather. The result? They lost the case. With a measure of reluctance, the court ruled that the man on the dock had no legal responsibility whatsoever to try to save the drowning man’s life. You and I can turn a deaf ear to the needy of this world. We can callously shrug our shoulders and say, “Let God feed them.” But God works through people who are responsive to God’s leading. There is nothing in this world that cannot be accomplished. Jesus said, “You feed them!” And we can.

8) Christy, Grade III A. A man was packing a shipment of food for the poor people of Appalachia. He was separating beans from powdered milk, and canned vegetables from canned meats. Reaching into a box filled with various cans, he pulled out a little brown paper sack. Apparently one of the pupils had brought something different from the items on the suggested list. Out of the paper bag fell a peanut butter sandwich, an apple, and a cookie. Crayoned in large letters was a little girl’s name, “Christy, Grade III A.’ A little girl had given up her lunch for some hungry person as did the little boy did in today’s Gospel. . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

9) “Born of the virgin Edna…” There was pastor who used his computer to create a personalized printed program for every Baptism. To make each one special, he’d use the computer’s “search & replace” function to find the name of the last baby baptized and then replace it with the next baby’s name. So one Saturday evening, the priest told his computer to find the name “Mary,” last week’s baby, and to replace it with “Edna,” the next day’s baby. Next morning, everything went smoothly till the congregation reached the Apostles’ Creed and found themselves saying, “…And we believe in Jesus Christ, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Edna…” So often our best intentions go awry, and before we get very old, the reality of our personal limitations becomes painfully clear. The Apostles in Sunday’s Gospel knew their limits only too well, especially when they stood next to Jesus. So when Jesus looked at the crowd of about 20,000 and told the Apostles to feed the people, they were truly abashed. . (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

10) A poor girl’s donation of “five loaves and two fish”: A sobbing little girl stood near a small Sunday school building. The pastor asked her why she was crying. “I can’t get into the Sunday school,” she sobbed. “The teacher said it was too crowded.” Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason. Taking her by the hand, the pastor took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who had no place to learn about Jesus. Two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings, and her parents called for the kind-hearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle arrangements for her funeral. As her body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which she might have gotten from some trash dump. Inside was found fifty-seven cents and a note scribbled in a child’s handwriting. It read, “This is my saving to help build our small church and the little Sunday school bigger so that many more children can go to worship God and to learn about Jesus.”  For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he should do.
Carrying this note and the child’s purse to the pulpit, he told the story of the poor little girl’s unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his parishioners to raise enough money for a larger church and bigger Sunday school. A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a realtor who offered them a plot of land worth thousands, for the price of fifty-seven cents — the amount the little girl had saved. The parishioners made large donations. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00, a huge amount at the turn of the last century. Her unselfish, sacrificial love had paid large dividends.
When you next visit the city of Philadelphia, look for Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital, and the Sunday school building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time. In one of the rooms of this building you will see the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose fifty-seven cents, so sacrificially saved, and had such a remarkable history. Alongside is a portrait of her kind pastor, Rev. Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book Acres of Diamonds. In today’s Gospel we read the similar story of a boy who sacrificially shared his little lunch with Jesus, thus cooperating with Him in the miraculous feeding of a huge crowd. (Confer Snopes.com for the true story). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

11) CNN heroes 2010: Out of 10,000 nominations from more than 100 countries, Narayan Krishnan from Madurai, India was selected as one of the Top 10 in “CNN heroes 2010″. In 2002, he was a cook for the prestigious Taj Hotel in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. He was selected for advanced training in Switzerland in his chosen profession as a hotel chef. He describes the moment of awakening that changed the course of his life. “I saw a very old man, eating waste food thrown out into a dumpster. I went to the nearby hotel bought some bread and gave it to the old man. Believe me; I had never seen a person eating so fast, ever. As he ate the food, his eyes were filled with tears. Those were the tears of happiness.” Right away, Krishnan quit his job and dreams of becoming a chef. Defying religious, caste and social conventions he spent his life by pouring his time and effort into feeding, bathing and grooming the destitute, mentally ill and elderly left uncared for and languishing in the streets. By founding the Akshaya Trust in 2003, he made thousands of people partners and facilitators of his acts of kindness. Every day, he wakes up at 4 a.m., cooks a simple hot meal and then, along with his team, loads it in a van and travels about 125 miles (201 km) feeding the homeless and mentally-disabled in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to 400 indigent and elderly people in Madurai. Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus felt compassion for the spiritually and physically hungry people and fed them miraculously. (Fr. Bobby Jose). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

12) The whole room was filled with light: In a book entitled Healing Through the Mass (pages 84-85, published by Resurrection Press and authored by Fr Robert DeGrandis S.S.J.), I read the following. NASA did some experimenting with a special type of camera that could see the energy levels in the human body. This is then seen on a monitor. This energy shows up as an aura around the body. NASA’s interest in the experiment was to investigate the effects of space travel on astronauts in orbit. Experimenting in a hospital they discovered that when a person is dying, the aura around the body is thinner and gets thinner and thinner until the person dies. The scientist carrying out this investigation in the hospital and his associate were behind a two-way mirror. They could see with their camera another man coming into the room with light coming from his pocket. Then the man took the object from his pocket and did something so that in the camera the whole room was filled with light and with their camera they could no longer see what was happening. They ran to the room to see what was causing so much light to appear in their camera. They discovered that the dying man was being given Holy Communion. Afterwards with their camera they could see that the aura around him was brighter. Although in his fifties, the scientist conducting the experiment decided to become a priest after witnessing that. (Fr. Tommy Lane). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

13) Christ’s love stands up to trials: There is a funny story about a small-town trial many years ago. Everyone was gathered in the courthouse. The prosecuting attorney called his first witness, an elderly woman, to the stand. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And, frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. Yes, I know you.” The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?” She replied, “Why, of course I do. “I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to babysit him. And he, too, has been a real disappointment. He’s lazy, bigoted, and has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is shoddy and crooked. Yes, I know him.” At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, “If either of you ask her if she knows me, I’ll hold you both in contempt of court!” (E- Priest). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

14) King and two beggars: There is an old story about a king and two beggars dressed in rags. The king announced a banquet in honour of his son’s wedding; anyone dressed in royal garments was welcome to attend. Both beggars longed to attend the banquet, but neither had any royal garments. The first beggar spent the day gathering lost coins and doing odd jobs. Finally, he went to the clothing merchant, presented his handful of coins, and asked for some royal robes. But the merchant laughed and said, “You can’t buy royal robes for pennies, old man!” The second beggar had a different idea. He made his way to the king’s castle, knocked on the gate, and asked to see the king. The guard brought him to the chamberlain, who took the beggar before the king’s throne. The beggar, shaking with fright, bowed low and said, “Please, your majesty, if I may be so bold, may I have one of your old garments so that I, too, may come to the banquet tonight?” The beggar was shaking so hard that he could not see the faint smile on the king’s face. “You have been wise in coming to me,” the king said. He called to his son, the young prince. “Take this man to your room and array him in some of your clothes, so that he too may enjoy the royal hospitality on this glorious night.” The story teaches that Christ doesn’t love us because we earned his love by our achievements; he loves us because his goodness is unconditional and overflowing, especially in the face of our weaknesses, failures, and miseries. We need only cooperate with his grace. (E- Priest). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

15) You feed them: Tony Campolo is a professor of sociology and a popular speaker. He was once invited to a women’s conference where he was to give a major address. These women were being challenged to raise several thousand dollars for a mission project goal. While Campolo was sitting on the dais, the chairperson turned to him and asked him if he would pray for God’s blessing as they considered their individual responses to the goal. Campolo stood and–to the utter amazement of everyone present–graciously said “No.” He approached the microphone and said, “You already have all the resources necessary to complete this mission project right here within this room. It would be inappropriate to ask for God’s blessing, when in fact God has already blessed you with the abundance and the means to achieve this goal. The necessary gifts are in your hands. As soon as we take the offering and underwrite this mission project, we will thank God for freeing us to be the generous, responsible and accountable stewards that we’re called to be as Christian disciples.” And they did. Wow! Leave it to Tony Campolo to hit the nail right on the thumb! Jesus says, “You feed them!” And we can! This is a rich world and we are rich people! (King Duncan, “You Feed Them!” Quoted by Fr. Kayala). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

16) Loving Generosity: Time before time, when the world was young, two brothers shared a field and a mill. Each night they divided evenly the grain they had ground together during the day. Now, as it happened, one of the brothers lived alone; the other had a wife and a large family. One day the single brother thought to himself: “It isn’t really fair that we divide the grain equally. I have only myself to care for, but my brother has children to feed.” So each night he secretly took some of his grain to his brother’s granary to see that he was never without. But the married brother said to himself one day, “It isn’t fair that we should divide the grain equally, because I have children to provide for me in my old age, but my brother has no one. What will he do when he is old?” So every night he secretly took some of his grain to his brother’s granary. As a result, both of them always found their supply of grain mysteriously replenished each morning. Then one night the brothers meeting each other halfway between their two houses, suddenly realized what had been happening and embraced each other in love. The story is that God witnessed their meeting and proclaimed, “This is a holy place – a place of love – and here it is that My Temple shall be built.” And so it was. The holy place where God is made known, is where human beings discover each other in love. (Wilkie Au in By Way of the Heart; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

17) More blessed to give than to receive: There was the beggar who sat at the temple gate every day, begging for his living. One day he heard that the King was coming to the Temple and he was all excited, sure that the king would give him enough alms so he wouldn’t have to beg any more. He eagerly awaited the arrival of the king but when the king came, the King did a strange thing. Instead of giving alms, he begged for alms himself. Perplexed, the beggar put his hand into his bag and reluctantly puts a few grains of rice into the king’s hands. Thanking him, the king departed, putting back to the beggar’s bag the grains he received, much to the disappointment of the beggar. At the end of the day the beggar returned home frustrated. But when he poured out the contents of his bag to check his day’s collection, to his great surprise, he discovered a few grains of gold among the rice. How he wished he had given more to the king! (Ravindra Nath Tagore; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

18) Soup Stone and miracle of sharing: One day a village woman was surprised to find a well-dressed stranger at her door asking for something to eat. “I’m sorry,” she said, “But I have nothing in the house right now.” “Not to worry,” said the amiable stranger. “I have a soup stone in my bag; if you will let me put it in a pot of boiling water, I’ll make the most delicious soup in the world. A large pot please.” The woman gave him the pot. He put the stone into it and filled the pot with water. As he put it on the fire, she whispered the secret of the soup stone to a neighbor. Soon all the neighbors had gathered to see the stranger and his soup stone. When the water began to boil, the stranger tasted a spoonful and exclaimed, “Very tasty! All it needs is some potatoes.” “I have potatoes at home,” shouted one woman. In a few minutes she was back with a large quantity of sliced potatoes, which were placed in the pot. Then the stranger tasted the brew again. “Excellent!” he said, adding, “if we only had some meat this would become a tasty stew.” Another housewife rushed home to bring some meat, which the stranger graciously accepted and deposited in the pot. When he tasted the broth again, he rolled his eyes heavenwards and said, “Delicious!” If only we had some vegetables, it would be perfect.” One of the neighbors rushed off home and returned with a basket of carrots and onions. After these had been put in, the stranger tasted the mixture and in a voice of command said, “Salt and sauce” “Right here,” said the housewife. Then came another command, “Bowls for everyone.” People rushed to their homes in search of bowls. Some even brought back bread and fruit. Then they all sat down to a delicious meal while the stranger handed out large helpings of his incredible soup. Everyone felt strangely happy as they laughed and talked and shared their first common meal. In the middle of the merriment the stranger slipped quietly away, leaving behind the miraculous soup stone, which they used every time they wanted to make the loveliest soup in the world. (Flor McCarthy in New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony 

19) Family doctor with compassion: Elton Lehman, a Country Doctor who still makes House Calls, has tended to the needs of Ohio’s Amish. Winding his way through the rolling hills near ‘Mount Eaton, Ohio, Dr. Elton Lehman reaches every house. For nearly 35 years, the Amish of Holmes County, who for the most part shun such modern conveniences as cars and electricity, have relied on Lehman, for his sound advice and sympathetic bedside manner. In a culture where virtually no one has more than an eighth-grade education, Lehman is the rare trusted outsider. So beloved is he in the area that Mount Eaton, a town with Amish and non-Amish residents, recently re-elected him mayor for a third consecutive term. Lehman took a 3:00 a.m. phone call from a former Amish patient with a relative who had suffered a massive stroke. Without a second thought, Lehman drove 60 miles to answer the call. Lehman expressed his compassion by being available at any time. Jesus showed his compassion with love in action. When Jesus passed two blind men who cried out for mercy, he touched their eyes and their sight was restored (Matthew, 20). When a leper came to Jesus and asked to be clean again, Jesus touched him, and the man’s leprosy was cured. Jesus was moved with compassion (Mark 1:4). (fr. Bobby Jose). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony

20) Narayan Krishnan  feeding 400: Out of 10,000 nominations from more than 100 countries, Narayan Krishnan from Madurai was selected as one of the Top 10 in “CNN heroes 2010″. Many people walk through life visually registering the objects, landscape and living creatures around them visually without actually seeing them. There are rare people who feel that to hear or see in suffering or imbalance in the world is a message from a Higher Power that they are in that place and in that time to alleviate it. Narayanan Krishnan is such a person. In 2002, he was a cook for the prestigious Taj Hotel in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. He was headed for stellar achievements in Switzerland in his chosen profession as a hotel chef. He described as follows the moment of awakening that changed the course of his life. “I saw a very old man, literally eating dirt out of hunger. I went to the nearby hotel and asked them what was available. They had idli, which I bought and gave to the old man. Believe me, I had never seen a person eating so fast, ever. As he ate the food, his eyes were filled with tears. Those were the tears of happiness. “Right away, Krishnan quit his job, defying religious, caste and social conventions by pouring his time and effort into feeding, bathing and grooming the destitute, mentally ill and elderly left uncared for and languishing in the streets. By founding the Akshaya Trust in 2003, he made thousands of people partners and facilitators of his acts of kindness. His day of devotion to the poor of his city is described as follows. Every day, he wakes up at 4 a.m., cooks a simple hot meal and then, along with his team, loads it in a van and travels about 125 miles (201 km) feeding the homeless and mentally disabled in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to 400 indigent and elderly people in Madurai. (Fr. Bobby Jose). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/) Fr. Tony L/20