5th Week, Saturday, Feb 13

 5th Week, Saturday, Feb 13

Genesis 3:9-24 / Mark 8:1-10

You ate the forbidden fruit; “In pain you shall bear children.”


Francis Thompson was a famous British poet in the late 19th century. One of his poems, called “Daisy,” reads: “Nothing begins and nothing ends That is not paid with moan; For we are born in other’s pain, and perish in our own.”

Today’s reading portrays pain as being the offspring of sin. Many people, however, blame God, not the human race, for sin. The truth is that God, in the person of Jesus, turned pain into a vehicle of redemption— so much so that Paul was able to say: “We know that all things [including pain] work for good for those who love God.” Romans 8:28


What is our attitude toward sin and suffering? “Jesus did not come to do away with suffering or remove it. He came to fill it with his presence.” Paul Claudell 


Genesis tells us that sin upsets the world in which people live, our relations with God, our relations with one another. Familiarity with God makes place for fear and distrust. Then the author(s) try to give a popular answer to the causes of evil, suffering, difficult work.

Jesus, on the other hand, brings people together and gives them to eat when they are hungry, as a sign of his mercy, his efforts toward unity and of the food of the eucharist. Let us seek this unity and this food.


Many questions have been asked about sin and suffering. Questions like is there a connection between sin and innocent suffering. So, as much as the reality of sin is not denied, yet the aspect of suffering as a consequence of sin is not readily accepted. Especially innocent suffering, or as a consequence of other people's sin. Some may even question the inheritance of Original Sin, since it was the sin of Adam and Eve, and it should have nothing to do with them. Well, we will always have our questions about sin and suffering. But let us listen to what questions God is asking us. 

In the 1st reading, we heard God asking the question - Where are you? So even though Adam and Eve had sinned, God did not abandon them but searched for them. In the gospel, we hear Jesus asking another question - How many loaves have you? Jesus was not looking at the limitations; He was more interested in possibilities. 

God is reaching out to us with His questions so that we may look again at our questions about life, about sin and about suffering. And Jesus is asking us to put the loaves of our lives with its questions into His hands. From His hands we will receive the Bread of Life that will give us faith and hope to walk on in love, despite and in spite of our questions. 


    Encountering Christ:

    1. Hungry for What?: In this second story of the multiplication of loaves and fishes (the first was recorded in Mark 6:31-44), we see again that the people following Jesus were so enthralled that they had forgotten to eat or to otherwise provide for themselves for three days! How compelling must Christ have been! They had chosen the company of Christ over meeting their most basic needs. We have the privilege of consuming the Bread of Life every day if we choose to. May our hearts, so often dulled by routine, be set aflame anew as we listen to Christ’s preaching and are fed at his table in every Mass.

    2. Close to Christ: To an outside observer, the behavior of these four thousand people would have seemed absurd. Despite their discomfort, they had chosen to remain close to Christ. As a result, his heart was “moved with pity” and he sought a remedy for their hunger. When we persevere during trials or temptations and “remain in him” (John 15:4), Christ himself sees to our needs. He knows our exact circumstances (how far we’ve come and how hungry we are) and has proven in word and deed that he cannot be outdone in generosity. We can trust him.

    3. Complete: Our Lord’s heart was moved with pity for the crowd and, as the Son of God, he had infinite power to fix the problem. But he didn’t fix it himself. He chose then, as he does today, to invite people to be missionaries to feed the hungry. “How many loaves do you have?” he asked his disciples. He asks us as well. We answer by dedicating our time, talents, and treasures to Christ in works of apostolate. In the name of Christ, Pope Francis exhorts us: “Please, do not leave it to others to be protagonists of change. You are the ones who hold the future! Jesus was not a bystander. He got involved. Don’t stand aloof, but immerse yourselves in the reality of life, as Jesus did. Above all, in one way or another, fight for the common good, serve the poor, be protagonists of the revolution of charity and service, capable of resisting the pathologies of consumerism and superficial individualism.” Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit 174.

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for your willingness to feed me constantly with grace through the sacraments. I sometimes greedily seek your blessings, forgetting that everything is meant to be shared. Strengthen me, Lord, and purify my intentions so that I become a willing and effective apostle for you.

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look at the needs of the people in my life and assess what I can do to help. 

    For Further Reflection: I would remind you of the most important question of all. “So often in life, we waste time asking ourselves: ‘Who am I?’ You can keep asking ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?’” Of course, you are for God. But he has decided that you should also be for others, and he has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts, and charisms that are not for you, but to share with those around you.


Opening Prayer

To those who are not filled with themselves, you reveal yourself Lord, our God, as the giver of all good things. Make us yearn for justice and peace and for all things that endure. Give us a copious meal of your word and your life through him who is our bread of life, Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. Amen.