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Friday, April 24, 2020

Reflection 2020-04-24 Friday 2nd Week of Easter

Acts 5:34-42; Psalm 27; John 6:1-15
The First Reading is a continuation of yesterday’s First Reading where the members of the council wanted to kill the Apostles. A respected Pharisee named Gamaliel, stood up and suggested to keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail, but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case, you may even be found fighting against God. The phrase fighting against God sums up the readings today and perhaps our lives. We fight with God, every day and it is called concupiscence. This is the inherent desire of every person to go against God because this is the effect of original sin.
When God created man and woman, he gave them perfect understanding of who God is. But the man and woman thought they knew better and wanted to be like God. This desire to be like God is passed to their descendants: all humanity. Which is why Jesus became man, to show us how to conquer this desire to be like God, this desire to fight against God. The only way to conquer this desire to fight against God is to obey Jesus. This is possible when we get rid of our preconceived ideas about him.
The man and woman wanted to be like God because they thought God was selfish and did not want them to know good and evil. Their mistaken idea of God made them reject God. Similarly, our preconceived ideas of God make us reject him. Many think God is a harsh task master who punishes for every small mistake we make. Some think God is a bad Father who wants us to suffer. Sometimes, the pendulum swings the other way, where some think the Father loves us so I can do whatever I want without any consequence. Some may not even believe in God, so they live as if there is no consequence to their lives.
The truth is: THERE IS A GOD. Colossians 1:15 tells us: He is real and Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Jesus shows us the Father. If we want to know God, we need to know Jesus. If we want to know Jesus, we need to accept him as he is and not put him a box, thinking this is how he thinks, this is how he acts. If we think we understand God completely that we know how he thinks and how he will act, our idea of God is not God. We worship an imaginary god.
Jesus shows this in the Gospel reading today. There were a lot of people and he asked Philip where they can buy bread to feed the people. Philip is seen in John’s Gospel as someone who is very logical and realistic. He sees the problem as not enough money to buy food to feed the people. He even told Jesus six months wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little. Philip was looking at the situation from the natural perspective. He forgot, or did not realize what Jesus could do.
Andrew on the other hand brought a boy with five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus. For Jesus, that was enough. He took that and fed the crowd. There are some theologians who said this miracle never happened, that when the people saw the boy, with the bread, they were convicted and brought their food out and shared them with one another. This teaching is NOT TRUE because this says the Gospel misrepresents what Jesus did.
One of the reasons why we do not see God working in our lives is we prevent him from doing what he wants. We think he needs to work within the confines of our imagination, that God cannot work beyond our lives. But God is God! He is beyond time and space. He can do whatever he wants, including feeding a multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish!
As I said, God is God! He is beyond this corona virus. He is beyond our current financial problems. He is beyond our sickness and troubles. GOD CAN DO ALL THINGS in our lives if we allow him! Of course, we take precautions. Of course, we do what we can do, but we should not think, we can do everything. The reason we fail is we prevent God from doing what he wants to do: work mightily in our lives so we can see his glory and know him! This is why the Psalm today says: wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. Trust the name of Jesus, which is the name above every other name, beyond, sickness, beyond financial problems, beyond demons, beyond death! This is the name that saves us. This is the name that created the universe and he loves you and wants to show you his power. Allow him into your life and take courage. Wait for the Lord. He will move.
Lord, how often I have prevented you from moving in my life. How often have I done things on my own. Help me O Jesus to trust you. Help me to wait for you. Here I am, with all my faults, fears, doubts, worries. Take them. I believe you are beyond all these and you can do with them as you please. You may not take them away, but as long as you are with me, I will not be afraid. I wait for you. Jesus, I trust you.

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