This is all I have it is not enough!

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

II Kings 4:42-44

Ephesians 4:1-6

John 6:1-15

 

“This is all I have it is not enough!” Have you ever had one of those moments or days? I did on Friday as I was trying to make some changes to the reconciliation chapel. You know where the reconciliation chapel is right? It is the little room off from the chapel where we go to know God’s love and forgiveness? My problem, well it is not a problem because it is the way I learn is I have to see it, then I have to feel it. What I mean by that is I learn best when I can see something and then step back and see what it feels like to me. My learning path goes to my eyes, then to my gut and then to my brain. I know this is not the best learning style, but it works for me. On Friday I was looking at the chapel, and things were beginning to feel ok, but then I just became overwhelmed, and I sat down and said, “This is all I have Lord, and it is not enough.” “This is all I have it is not enough!” Maybe you have felt this way because of a broken relationship, a death, or a situation in your life. Our readings today are about knowing what to do when we say, “This is all I have it is not enough!”

 

In our first reading and our gospel, we hear about bread made from barley. In ancient times bread from barley was food for the poor or feeding animals. What I understand is barley germinates quicker, and it is a bit easier to make into bread than bread made from wheat. Bread made from wheat was considered the bread of the rich.

 

In our first reading from the Book of II Kings, a man presumably a poor farmer brings Elisha 20 loaves of barley bread. It is the farmers “first fruits” the best of what he has to offer. This farmer is very poor, but he gives what is worth the most to him freely and without reservation to Elisha. Elisha’s a servant says “Is this all you have it is not enough!” Elisha does not listen to his servant but listens to God who blesses what the poor farmer has brought and made it into abundance.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus has 5000 people to feed, and he turns to Philip and says, “Where can we buy enough food for these people to eat?” Philip responds, “Two hundred-day hundred days wages would not be enough to feed this many people!”  A little boy steps forward and says, “I have five barley loaves and two small fish.” Andrew responds, “Is this all you have it is not enough!” Jesus takes the loaves, and the fish blesses it, and he gives it to the people to eat, and they know of this life in abundance.

 

The poor farmer and the little boy are the heroes in our stories today for they teach us when we feel as though what we have is not enough God says in reply, “Bring what you have and it is enough, I can work with what you bring and make it a great abundance.” Our Eucharist is about taking what we think is not enough and blessing it into an abundance.

We are the seeds!

Friday of the 16th Week Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 3:14-17

Matthew 13:18 – 23

 

“A special welcome to all of our visitors this day who join us. Thank you for being with us that together we can give God glory and praise!” I do not know why I ever began saying this. I believe it was a mistake and I did not know what to say, so I said this line. I do know that the very first time I did say this welcome; a woman after Mass thanked me for welcoming her. So, I just continued saying it. To be welcomed is the first step to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ and we hear this in our readings today.

 

In our first reading from Jeremiah, we hear God welcoming all people back to Jerusalem after their captivity. It is surprising that only a small remnant returned to rebuild the holy city. Many ignored the invitation.

 

In our Gospel, we hear of four different kinds of soil. There is the hard soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and the good soil. God is very generous about spreading the seeds of invitation on all kinds of soil. Of course, we think of ourselves as the good soil. Maybe how arrogant are we!

 

What kind of soil are we today? How are we doing on forgiveness, on patience, on accepting others as they are and not what we want them to be? How inviting are we to people who are not like us?

 

I see the seed as us, as God throwing us onto all kinds of soil and saying, “I am inviting you to plant yourself deep within that soil and make something grow!”

 

May we hear God’s invitation to holiness and be planted deep within the soil we are given.

 

Share our stories of faith!

Thursday Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 2; 1-3, 7-8, 12-13

Matthew 13:10-17

St. Joachim & St. Anne

 

 

My two-year-old granddaughter Eleanor loves to have stories read to her. She loves being read to when she wakes up in the morning, and she loves to be read to when she is taking a nap or put to bed at night. These stories give her comfort, and they teach her many things about life. As we celebrate the Feast day of St. Joachim and St. Anne, parents to the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents to Jesus. We celebrate that they shared stories about life and taught Mary and Jesus many things.  

 

In our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah, the prophet is condemning the priest for not telling stories of the Lord God but rather stories of the pagan Canaanite gods.

 

In our Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, “Why do speak to the crowd in parables?” Parables are multi-layered, and each time we hear a parable it has the potential to speak to us differently. Eleanor has the books she likes in the morning and the books she likes in the evening, each time she hears these books she is entering the story at a deeper level. Jesus ends this passage by saying, “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”

 

On this day when we celebrate the Sts. Joachim and Anne, we look back to those in our lives who have told their stories to us so that we will know our faith journey. Telling faith stories is the way our faith is handed on to the next generation. What are the stories that we need to tell over and over so that others will learn of the goodness of God? 

 

 

Are we able to forgive?

Tuesday of the 16th week Ordinary Time

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20

Matthew 12:46-50

 

Are you comfortable, are you feeling well? Good! However, in our spiritual lives it is not always good to feel comfortable. God’s word should at times make us feel uncomfortable, as in the case today about forgiveness. As human beings forgiveness is one of the most difficult things to do. Yesterday, I was talking with my older brother and one of our most talked about topics is our latest aches and pains. He was going on about his tingling in his legs so I shared how my big toe was hurting. He says, “You have had more aches and pains then I will ever have!” Of course I fire back, “Me! You have had more surgeries then I will ever have! You are like the bionic man!” With my feelings bruised and battered, I just hung up on him. Forgiveness is the hardest thing we do as human beings and I would dare say, it is not possible without God’s help.  

 

In our first reading from the prophet Micah we hear how God delights in forgiveness and mercy. God wants nothing more than to forgive us of our sins and cast them into the sea.   

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is encouraging us to forgive our family members. Jesus is asking us again to look again in to whom we need to forgive? Jesus is challenging us to look beyond our immediate family and look to our friends and those whose names we may have forgotten.

 

My friends in Christ, forgiveness can be the hardest thing we do as human beings; we need God’s grace to forgive. May the grace of this sacrament help us to forgive those we need to forgive?

 

 

Our lesson to learn!

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 23:1-6

Ephesians 2:13-18

Mark 6:30-34

Masses 10:00 & noon

 

“He taught them many things!” What have we learned this past week? In the last week I have learned many things. I have learned to turn on the AC before Mass because at this time of the year it is very important. I have learned that there is some kind of tree frog that lives outside my bedroom window that thinks it is serenading me to sleep? I have learned that Fr. Mike eats half a strawberry pie for lunch. I have learned many things since coming here two weeks ago, but there are still more things to learn and we learn those things come Jesus Christ.

 

In our first reading we hear what Jeremiah has leaned from the Lord God and that is that there has been shepherds who have scattered the sheep and now there will be shepherds who will gather the sheep. God will appoint them and there will be no reason to fear. Sign me up for that course.

 

The writer of Ephesians shares what he has learned and that is; we were once far away from God but Christ keeps calling us near.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is learning of all the things the disciples have done on their mission trip that he sent them on. The disciples  have learned many things so he invites them to go with him to a deserted place, but he knows they have more to learn. As Jesus invites the disciples to a place of rest the crowds follow so when they arrive the people are already there waiting. We are told that Jesus has pity for the people. The word “pity” can have a negative connotation but the translation from Jesus is, ‘his guts were wrenched out of him.’ Here now is the first lesson the disciples need to learn, Jesus gets out of the boat and begins to minister to the people. The disciples need to make a decision; do they get out or stay in the boat? If you read further in the next sentence it says, “The disciples beg Jesus to send them away.” The disciples need to learn what it means to have pity for the people. The next lesson is what Jesus does and that is he begins to teach them about the love of God. Jesus does not feed them, heal them or do any kind of physically thing with them. The lesson is that Jesus sees the hearts of the people and is able to give the people what they truly need above any kind of physical healing.

 

My friends in Christ as we gather, will be able to learn the lessons of Christ giving to us in our readings today? Will we be able to have more pity, more understanding, and more patience with those that God has entrusted to us? Will we be able to speak to their hearts words of God’s love and ours? The Eucharist we share is here to give us this grace, may we be good shepherds this week.

Lay our burdens down!

 

Thursday Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 26:7-9, 12, 16-19

Matthew 11:28-30

 

The last two weeks of July were always our family vacation to our cottage in the Upper Peninsula past Michigan Tech. It was a ten and a half hour drive from our house. Those two weeks on vacation are filled with wonderful childhood memories. However, the days leading up to leaving are filled with memories but they are of mom and dad at the same time tense and short of patience. It was difficult to prepare for a two week vacation with five kids. Our readings today are beautiful especially if you are going nuts!

 

In our first reading is a prayer of Isaiah who may have been going nuts after all the prophesying he had been doing now awaits some rest and comfort. He uses a wonderful image as he talks about a woman who waits with great joy the birth of her child, although knowing that it is going to be painful. As soon as the child is born the woman rejoices and forgets the pain.

 

When we are going nuts, it is good to hear the two commands of Jesus. The first command it an invitation to “Come to me.” We have a personal invitation to come to Jesus anytime we are anxious and not sure what to do. The second command is “To take his yoke upon our shoulders.” When we are feeling stressed the last thing we may want is more things put on our shoulders, but Jesus commands us to take his yoke. There are few kinds of yokes to note. The first kind of yoke is a double yoke where Jesus is on one side and we are on the other. The other image of a yoke is when people are a party and they are dancing in a circle with their arms around each other’s shoulders as a yoke and they move about helping each other move left to right. 

 

As we come to this Eucharist, what burdens are we carrying which we would like to have lessened?  What is preventing us from being yoked with Jesus so that He can help bear the load?  Are we too self-determined and refuse to allow GOD’s help?  How might we reassure others of Jesus’ invitation to give them rest and to lessen their burdens?

What is our perceived threat?

Tuesday Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 7:1-9

Matthew 11: 20-24

 

When I think of myself and what shape I am I, I think of myself in great shape, young and vibrant. When I look at myself in the mirror and when I step on the scale the threat of being overweight is very real. Our readings are about those perceived threats and knowing what is a real threat to our spiritual lives.

 

In our first reading, at this time in history Israel is separated into the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdoms have banded together to form a coalition with Syria and they have plans to attack the Southern Kingdom. The King of the Southern Kingdom, King Ahaz sees the perceived threat and is planning on forming an alliance with the Assyrians who have been conquering all the surrounding countries around Israel. If the Southern Kingdom makes this alliance they will have to worship their pagan gods. Isaiah is telling King Ahaz this is only a perceived threat have courage and be strong in faith and God will protect his people. 

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is denouncing the three towns, of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. These towns think they are doing great they do not see the real threat of how badly they are acting even though Jesus has done mighty deeds in these towns.

 

What are the perceived threats in our lives that are not real and what threats are real that prevent us from believing in Jesus Christ? What are those lies of the evil one we have been listening too? Where are those doubts and fears that get into our minds and prevent us from believing as Christ would want us too? The Eucharist is given to us, to know no matter what threatens us today God is stronger and bigger then whatever it is.