Aug 2 2020 Reflection
Sunday 2 August 2020
First Reading: IS 55:1-3
The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
PS 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18
Second Reading: ROM 8:35, 37-39
Gospel Reading: MT 14:13-21
Today’s Note: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me, ”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over—
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.
In all these things we conquer overwhelmingly. (Romans 8:37)
Julius Caesar. Alexander the Great. Napoleon Bonaparte. Genghis Khan. What do these men have in common? They were among the world’s greatest conquerors. They waged military campaigns that took them far and wide, forming mighty empires along the way.
Would you include Jesus in that list? Or St. Paul? Or yourself, for that matter? We don’t think of Christ, or Christians in general, as conquerors. Jesus died an ignoble death at the hands of the Romans. St. Paul was beheaded by the same empire. They looked more like the conquered than conquerors. Even today many Christians are martyred by those in power.
And yet through his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, Jesus conquered the greatest enemies of all: sin and death. And because of our baptism into Christ, that’s a victory we all share in—no matter what befalls us in this life.
Paul’s words must have comforted the early Christians whenever they experienced persecution for their faith. Even when it looked like they were “losing,” they knew they were actually “winning.” They trusted that not even the worst calamity could separate them from Jesus (Romans 8:39)!
These verses can bring you comfort as well. You may be experiencing the kind of anguish and distress that St. Paul described. Or maybe you are repeatedly “losing” to a certain temptation. Whatever the case, know that as you cling to the Lord, you will “win” in the end. One day Jesus will welcome you into his heavenly kingdom, and everything will be made right and beautiful.
Until then, remember that God will never separate himself from you; his love is too strong, too real and solid. And through that love, you too will triumph over sin, death, and all the trials of life. You too will be a conqueror.
“Jesus, may I never be separated from your love!”