Homily – by Fr. Jenish
Mother Teresa of Kolkata had once spoken well of hunger and poverty.
She said “the spiritual poverty of the West is much greater than the physical poverty of the East. In the West, there are millions of people who suffer loneliness and emptiness, who feel unloved and unwanted. They are not the hungry in the physical sense; what is missing is a relationship with God and with each other”.
She was speaking about kinds of hunger: Physical, emotional and spiritual. a hunger for health and life, 2. a hunger for acceptance and welcome, affirmation and affection from others. 3. and a longing for the company of good people. For us, Christians, this means, most of all the company of Jesus Christ.
In the gospel today we meet people who are experiencing these kinds of hunger. Their greatest hunger is for the company of Jesus, the words he speaks, and for the warmth and comfort of his understanding, kindness and compassion.
The background of today’s gospel is a disturbing one. The voice of John the Baptist, which heralded the coming of the savior and provided hope, is silenced. Jesus hearing the murder of his cousin, perhaps was looking for some quiet time to mourn the recent killing of his cousin. And so, Jesus sails with his friends to a lonely place. But seeing where the boat is heading, the crowds hurry to reach that shore on foot.
Though filled with pain, sorrow and grief he continues his ministry of preaching. The mission hereafter was not going to be easy for Jesus. Disappointment and failures were knocking at his door. Yet he carries on with his mission to be a man for others.
In our lives too failure is something which we all encounter very often. We fail to stand up to ours and other’s expectations in our personal lives. we fail to answer to the needs and demands of our family or community lives. We fail to respond to challenges and duties in our societal lives. Failures create a cloud of hopelessness. But every failure, can also be the gateway to venture into fresh framework of opportunities.
Even with the difficult frame of mind, Jesus discovers new opportunity to fulfill his mission. Jesus sensing people’s longing to be with him, and seeing so many sick and troubled persons among them, his heart is moved with compassion. Their longings and hunger for his welcome and acceptance, affirmation and affection are fulfilled.
Something more interesting is happening here. Not only is Jesus multiplying the bread, he is also involving his disciples, who were facing the failure of providing food for crowd gathered, in the task of feeding such a vast number of people.
All this has much to say to us today as followers of Jesus. Jesus teaches us not to be disappointed or disheartened by apparent signs of failures, but encourages us to believe in the resources God has blessed us with. And not to give up on hope.
Mother Theresa in one of her prayers wrote. “I am nothing Jesus is everything. I do nothing of my own. He does it. I am God’s pencil. A tiny bit of pencil with which He writes what he likes. God writes through us and however imperfect instruments we maybe, He writes beautifully”. Jesus did write beautifully with her life.
It’s that very same Jesus, we are meeting today in this eucharist. He keeps waiting and wanting to write beautifully using us, imperfect tiny pencils, to satisfy the physical, emotional and spiritual hungers of those persons, who are both needing and waiting for us, to be for them agents of the goodness, and missionaries of his love!
As I am entrusted with the responsibility for the pastoral care of St. Elizabeth’s, our parish from this day, may I say a big thank you Fr. Jeroen for shepherding this parish for the last 11 years, And I request you all who are present at this church and those who are following this mass from home to take a moment to bless me and pray for me that God may use me to write the way he likes with your help.
For God is good and so are you.