Peace and grace to all!
The teachings of Jesus, his healing of the sick and his other miracles and actions offered hope and joy to many people. Jesus stands out as someone who could be counted on and trusted. In the Gospel today, it is clear that Jesus is challenging his disciples to not just be hearers and watchers but to be people of action just as he is. “Give them some food yourselves.” Is Jesus asking them to pay for the food out of their own pockets? Or was Jesus inviting them to offer themselves as food for others?
Practically speaking, it is safe to say that Jesus is asking for some of each from everyone. However, we know that some followers have been called to imitate Jesus more closely. They are called to give in the same way as he gave his life, flesh and blood as food for the world.
Obviously the story teaches that if we give, even a little, with a good heart, God will bless it and there will be abundance. After all, God is generous and will not be out done in generosity!
Here in our parishes of St. Thomas, St. Bernard and St. Edward many of us are regularly giving out of our own pockets to financially support the needs our parishes. Many of us are also giving to support the Catholic Church in Oregon and the US through the various second collections. There are also other charities or worthy causes that may or may not be Catholic but are effective ways of financially helping others move ahead in a challenging world: Scholarships, the Obria Clinic, St. Vincent De Paul, Teen Challenge, are just a few.
There are those of us who are actively giving themselves in special forms of ministry beyond parenting, family care or regular jobs. They volunteer to teach our youth or serve the poor and needy through St. Vincent De Paul. Some of us are giving personally at Obria helping those with unwanted or unexpected pregnancies either through counseling or by taking individuals into their own homes. Some are actively involved bringing Communion to the sick and home bound. Others serve at parish liturgies on weekends and/or quietly work to support a Parish Bazaar and Rummage Sale. The list goes on and I’m glad it does because as St. James says, activity of this kind shows that faith is alive; not dead. We too are more alive in Spirit when we are active in these ways because we are truly living our baptismal vocation. Last but not least, some of us are called to give our pocket book and our lives, everything, to serve God’s people. This truly is an honor and a supreme gift from God to receive this call. In the eyes of the world this seems a loss, but the world is blinded from recognizing God’s richness in all things. Don’t forget, Jesus promises a hundred fold AND Eternal Life to those who respond to his call! God bless you all! +++ Fr. Peter