Fr Vincent's reflections on the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
God promises to love me and bless me. Why don’t I feel loved or blessed sometimes?
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18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us pray:
Draw near to your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness,
that, for those who glory in you as their Creator and guide,
you may restore what you have created
and keep safe what you have restored.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As before, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along. The Gospel today is Matthew 14:13-21.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
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.
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
“Count your blessings,” might sound like an old cliché, but it remains a valuable tool of Catholic spirituality. In fact, many years ago, I learned to do this each day as my nightly examination of conscience: 1) Name three blessings God has given you today. 2) Name three ways in which you failed in your response to God. 3) Name three ways God and you plan to be better tomorrow. So even before reflecting on my own life in examining my conscience, I reflect on God’s daily blessings!
With all of the expectations of life we face each day, it is easy to be overwhelmed and spend the day trying to accomplish things, finish projects, or make others happy. So many of these expectations might be unfulfilled at the end of the day, and we can judge our day a failure, so we go to bed believing I am worse off than when I started the day. This quickly turns into depression, and then I judge myself as less capable to succeed, and then I do start failing at normal activities.
Our Scripture readings this weekend speak of God’s love and care for His people, for you and me. While we “know” this is the truth, we do not always “feel” it is the truth because we still have problems and sufferings in our lives, and we can believe there is just too much for me to handle, so where is this loving and blessing God. He doesn’t seem to be fulfilling his promise of love and blessing!
The disciples come to Jesus representing our thoughts about our inabilities – this situation is too big for me to handle, so “God, just take this away from me!” Jesus tells the disciples what God tells us: “You can do this!” So they, and we, try to convince God that He is wrong: “Look how little I have to do this!” But Jesus to the disciples, and God to us says: “Have you forgotten that I am with you? Let’s do this together.”
This is why we need to “count our blessings,” so that you and I can remember that in spite of all the problems of life, God truly is with us, loving and caring for us. We just need to stop our own struggling thoughts and look through the day to find the actions of God. In truth, they are all around us, if we look! Once we see God’s active presence in our lives, we will be able to use those blessings to accomplish the goals of each day. It is absolutely true that nothing separates us from the love of God, and by that love, you and I will do great and miraculous things!
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.