The Gospel follows John’s account of the multiplying of the five loaves and two fish which we heard last week. The word spreads and though Jesus and his shipmates have sailed to the other side of the sea, those who had eaten their fill follow him. This can sound wonderful; he is gaining new followers. When they meet up with Jesus, he offers them their truth. They were following, but not in the same sense, as he desired. They came to see if he were handing out more bread or doing something else for their enjoyment. They failed to see the bread as ”Sign”, but merely as a crusty “thing”.
On Saturday, July 18th, 2015, the Pallottine Missionary Sisters in Germany celebrated together with Sr. Astrid Meinert her final profession. Pallottine Father Edward Fröhling celebrated holy Mass in the chapel which had been decorated by Sr. Ann with most beautiful flower arrangements. In his sermon Fr. Fröhling elaborated mainly on the text from the gospel (Matthew 17:1-5), which Sr. Astrid had chosen for the day and from which she had taken a sentence to caption the celebration, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; and listen to him”. The cathedral choir of Limburg, of which Sr. Astrid is a member, enhanced the Eucharistic celebration with its singing, accompanied by the cathedral organist.
In this story everything is on a huge scale. Even the setting for the story is immense: it is the first mention of Jesus crossing the sea of Galilee, at the far side of which is a wide space where “a huge crowd” could gather. Jesus feeds the thousands. They not only have plenty, they have twelve baskets of bread left over.
It all speaks to us about immensity, about abundance: not the kind of abundance that comes from careful gathering and accounting (the people had come with no food); still less the kind that comes from defrauding one’s neighbours; but the abundance of God's providence.
“Lifting up his eyes, he saw the crowd...” (verse 5). It seems he wants us too to lift up our eyes, and not to live our lives by addition and subtraction, when he is able to multiply goodness towards us.
From 14 to 19 July 2015, the third International Congress of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate took place in Brazil, São Paulo, in the Center Mariapolis Ginetta. Its theme was: Jesus, a joy ever new to be shared, words taken from the Encyclical Evangelii Gaudium of Pope Francis. And indeed, it was a meeting, that brought forth joy, communion and the reassuring of our missionary call in the world, touching the 153 participants from 17 countries as an integrating, illumining Cenacle experience.
Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34
The Gospel of last Sunday told of Christ's first sending out of the disciples on a mission of preaching and healing. In the order of Mark's Gospel it was followed by an interlude which tells of the Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, hearing of Jesus's mission, and being touched in his conscience and thinking that here was John the Baptist come back from the dead; it adds the story of how he had had John executed to satisfy the whim of a daughter of his unlawful wife which the latter had prompted. And now we have the story of the return of the disciple-missionaries.
Hymn for the General Congress (English)
We invite you to pray for the General Congress of the Union - July 14-19 - Brazil - that it may be an experience of deep faith and communion and a source of renewal for all who are present whether in body or spirit.
The General Secretariat of the Union
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