18th Sunday of OT A

Three Levels of the School of Faith

Joke: Rumor said that summer in Texas the mosquitoes are flying around with canteens. The farmers are giving crushed ice to their chickens to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs. A fire hydrant was seen bribing a dog. The Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet-wipes, the Presbyterians are giving out rain-checks and the Catholics are praying for the wine to change back into water.

For the past three weeks, we heard seven parables about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus didn’t just preach about the kingdom of heaven, he demonstrated the kingdom of heaven by casting out the demons, healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving sins, particularly in feeding the multitude reported in today’s Gospel. Matthew describes vividly a scene taken place in a deserted place; it’s getting late; and people look hungry and thirsty after a long day of listening to Jesus’ preaching. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him to dismiss people, but he told them the saying, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here,” they said. This part of the conversation can be established into a school of faith. In this school of faith, the first level is the quest for the unknown future; this then leads to the second level that the professor sends his students out into the world using his teaching to feed those who are hungry and thirsty, while they have very limited resources: only five loaves and two fish. In this school of faith, some failed at level two. However, the professor, out of love, taught them how to feed these people with only five loaves and two fish at the level three by “took the loaves, said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.” In this third level, our professor Jesus Christ invites us to be thankful for what we have and who we are and to share what we have and who we are with others.

In this third level, the Church places today’s first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah, to help us become aware of what are we searching in our Christian life, saying, “All you who are thirsty, come to the water. Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy?” The Lord instructs the Israelites to come to water, not Tequila, nor Budweiser, to satisfy our thirst. Why does the Lord instruct people to come to the bread and the water to satisfy their hunger and thirst? Do they coincide with the sacrifice of the Son of God, who sacrificed his own flesh on the Cross for the sake of our salvation, and pouring out his own blood mixed with his sweat to wash away our sins? What does it mean when the priest, at the Eucharistic liturgy, pours a little bit of water into the cup of wine? The prayer accompanying this action is: “By the mystery of this water and wine,” I quoted, “may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” The wine symbolizes the blood of the Divinity, and the water symbolizes our humanity that we are humbly asked to be united with the blood of the divinity of Christ who humbles himself to come to our humanity. Therefore, in this third level of the school of faith, we are taught to be humble and to acknowledge the need for God who satisfies our hunger and thirst, have we been aware of that reality in our Christian life, in this school of faith?

Saint Paul beautifully speaks to the Roman community through his own experience from a persecutor of Christianity to the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ saying, “Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly thru him who loved us.” In all these things: anguish—when we have to face sickness or illness whether physically or mentally and spiritually; distress—we might be sad when we have to detach what is so attached to us; persecution—we might experience agony when we see our loved one cheat on us, run away from us, or abandon us; famine or nakedness—we might be sad to see others starving and suffering from disaster and from lacking of human basic necessity; peril or sword —we might be agonized to witness human life suffering from wars and injustice. In all of these, Saint Paul teaches us that we are only overcome through one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. The question is: In our own anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword, who do we turn to? Do we turn to alcohol, drug, sex, stealing, shopping addiction, and many other addictions rather than to turn into the Lord Jesus Christ?

In these three levels of the school of faith: The first level, the quest for the unknown future, at the second, the feeding of the hungry and thirsty with limited resources, and the third, the humbly acknowledgement of the need for God. In this first level, when we come to God in our prayer and participating in the celebration of the Eucharist, ask ourselves: Has our quest for the unknown future gone according to God’s will or has it gone along our own will and desire? In the second level, we ask ourselves: Why didn’t Jesus Christ just perform a miracle to make bread to feed the people instead of using the five loaves and two fish to make multitude to feed them? In this act of gathering five loaves and two fish to make multitude to feed them, has he meant to invite us to share with one another our talent, treasure and time to bring the kingdom of heaven present in our midst? At the final level, Jesus invites us to be thankful and grateful for what we are, who we are, and courageously take an act of sharing of what we have and who we are with others whom we come into contact each day. Saint James said that faith without work is meaningless, how can we profess our faith without sharing of what we have and who we are in following the Lord Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is modeled for us by lower himself to vest on himself our very human flesh and to sacrifice his own life for the sake of our salvation, what have we done with what we have and who we are when we profess our faith that we are Catholics and the followers of Jesus Christ?

 

Weekend Written Homilies 2020

Weekend Written Homilies 2020


Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!