Devotional Thoughts for the 7th Sunday after the feast of Pentecost – 27th July 2014

When our Lord’s public mission was in full swing, not only our Lord but also his disciples did not find time to have their own basic needs, including consumption of food. (Refer St. Mark 6:31) People were after our Lord to accomplish their needs of different nature. When the kinsmen of our Lord heard about the miracles done by him, they came forward saying that he is beside himself. From the gospel usage of the term ‘kinsmen’ we must understand that they were youngsters of our Lord’s age, who were related directly or indirectly to the family of St. Joseph, the care taker of our Lord’s infancy.
Today also we listen to an experience almost similar to the one we heard on last Sunday. Here our Lord made use of the seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes, which were with the Apostles to satisfy about 4000+ men and almost similar number of women and children. In verse 32 we read about our Lord’s remarks: “I have compassion on the multitude because they continue with me now three days and they have nothing to eat. I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way”. The uniqueness of today’s miracle is that the initiative came from our Lord first. We might use the term kindness in the place of compassion. The word used in the Malayalam translation (Manassalivu) is very proper and super (as it means sharing of the melted mind to someone).
As a large number of people were after our Lord always, our Lord and even the Apostles also could not find place to have their food. This type of difficulty was there at many other occasions also. In St. Mark 6:31 also we find such a situation. The multitude was coming and going and making a big mess at the presence of our Lord. It is sure that their intentions and motives were one sided or selfish. We too go to the Church every now and often and we too basically aim to gain some of our needs and betterment of our personal lives. No one could deny this fact. When St. Mark is saying about the inconvenience of not having food at the right time, we must try to learn so many things from this. This shows the absence of a concern on the part of the multitude to our Lord and his blessed Apostles. They did not exhibit a bit of patience. They were rushing among themselves to get their needs done first. Similarly we also behave in our churches. Are we not behaving in the same manner in our Churches, when we stand in lines waiting for absolution and to partake the Holy mysteries or finally at the time of dispersal, trying to overtake the other standing near by or making an unnecessary fuss and tension? We often forget to have little patience and concern for others. Let us try to avoid all such competitive spirits at least inside our churches. The Psalmist tells: “”But thou O Lord, you are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Psalms 86:15) “Like a father pities his children, so the Lord pities them that fear him” (Psalms 103: 13) In fact are these verses the prophecies about our Lord Jesus Christ, our savior? The entire world came to know that God is Love only after the blessed incarnation of our redeemer. We find another instance where we could see the compassion of our Lord is in St. Mark 1:41. St. Paul confirms it that our Lord is compassionate not only to those who fear him or honor him, but also to the entire sinners. (Hebrews 2:17, 4:15, 5:2)
In verse 21 we read, “And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself”. This is how people who could not admit goodness in others often do. We must make sure that we do appreciate goodness in others, instead of telling what all we could against such. There are so many people who might tell badly of the really good people, especially when they might do something in general for the society. The complaint of the Scribes that came from Jerusalem was different. They blamed that our Lord had Beelzebub and with his help only our Lord was casting out the devils from the people. When we would examine St. Matthew 9:34, 10: 25, 12: 24, St. Luke 11: 15, St. John 8: 48-52, we could see them raising such accusations.
See the way in which our Lord handled the accusations. He did not get angry with them and very softly and politely our Lord taught them the truth with parables. When we face accusations, are we not getting angry allowing our blood pressure to go up? In our colloquial phrase our blood would ‘boil’, isn’t it? The people who might handle the oppositions, whatever be their stand and position, must learn to handle the issues without getting angry and hot tempered.
In verse 22 we read about the scribes that came from Jerusalem, which is quite far from Galilee. Now the bus journey takes 4-5 hours from Galilee area to Jerusalem or the vice versa. Imagine how much troubles the scribes might have undertaken in those days, when and where there was no modern transport facility, to reach the Galilee area from Jerusalem, where our Lord’s public mission was going on. Why they had come all the way from Jerusalem to the place where our Lord was carrying out his mission works? They were afraid of our Lord that he might be a hindrance for their teachings and practices. So they tried their best to misguide the ordinary people saying that our Lord did the miracles with the help of the prince of devil and he had Beelzebub. By grasping their mind and intention, our Lord resisted the false teaching after calling them to him and asking how Satan could cast out Satan. He also proved his innocence by telling them parables and ascertained that a kingdom cannot exist if it is divided against itself and
In verse 27 as well as in St. Matthew 12:29 we read as our Lord’s saying, “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods except he will first bind the strong man: and then he will spoil his house.” In Isaiah 49: 24 we read, “the prey be taken from the mighty or the lawful captive delivered”. In verse 28-29 we read, “Verily I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies will be blaspheme, but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit has never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation” Blaspheme literally means impious talk. The Holy Church teaches that all thoughts, deeds or words against the Holy Spirit are sins which will not be forgiven. All sins that are committed with a deliberate mind to do so are the sins against the Holy Spirit. We all have been gifted with the Holy Spirit, who remains in our minds and who guides us in our everyday lives. But the Satan shows us the temporary worldly pleasures and exhorts us to commit sins in an easy way. We often fall victims of the temptations of the Satan easily, ignoring the restrictions and compulsions of the Holy Spirit from our spiritual fall. These days we are doing more and more sins against the Holy Spirit. When we become more co-operative to the evil spirits, the Holy Spirit in us gets weak in effect. The only remedy for regaining the spiritual strength and the strength of the Holy Spirit is the repentance. The modern society ignores repentance and Satan always advises us to postpone the repentance. We must think whether we are supposed to talk, do and think as we like. Are we not supposed to think, talk and act according to the will of God? Why we are ignoring the prominence for God’s will and glory of God? In our daily life, we all must think well before we might plan something, do something, talk or write something. We must make sure whether our thoughts, words or deeds would be beneficial for the addition of glory to God’s will and wish. When we would do so, the Holy Spirit in us, which we have gained through the Baptism and Holy Mooron will be growing healthy in us. Our sacramental lives would enable us to strengthen our Holy Spirit in us. The regular Holy Confession, as taught by our Holy Church and regular partaking of the Holy body and blood of our Lord, would pave the way to strengthen and nourish the growth of the Holy Spirit in us. Kindly find time to have regular sacramental life and systematic spiritual growth.
After teaching the truth with the help of parables to the Jews to whom our Lord was talking, He told them convincingly “all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven”. We all have been given with the Holy Spirit with our baptism and Holy Mooron. The Holy Spirit in us is always advising us to do something and not to do something. We might call him the conscience. But are we always loyal and sincere to the Holy Spirit in us? Are we not often disregarding and disobeying Him? Sin could be defined as an experience of being without God, who is the truth, love and life, in our words, deeds and thoughts. Our deliberate thoughts, deeds and words of which, we are sure that they are sins, becomes the sins against the Holy Spirit. Let us obey our Holy Spirit in us. And let us not commit sins with our knowledge that they are sins. Kindly make a note of the fact that the multitude, which ate the bread and fishes blessed by our Lord got satisfied. We cannot deny the truth that we do not get the entire satisfaction after meals of different tastes and qualities. Have we searched why we are not getting satisfaction? It is a truth that when we would depend the selfish motives and interests, other than the blessing of our Lord God, we lose the satisfaction. So let us practice praising God for the gifts and services, before and after every meal. Make it a point that if we could remember God Almighty and praise Him for the gift, before and after each meal, it would grant us miraculous effect of satisfaction.
We read that the left over broken bread was filled in seven baskets. The number ‘7’ is significant and important. It teaches that the blessing we get from the heavenly bread on the first day of the week must remain in us as a blessing for the 7 days of the week (From Sunday to Sunday) When the celebrant disperses the congregation after the Holy Eucharist, he wishes, “You depart in peace with the needy food for the journey”. In Christian thinking the life of a faithful is often   compared to a journey to the Lord God or a pilgrimage.  The number 7 is very important for us for many reasons. The days of the week are 7. The Holy Sacraments, which are the visible symbols of the invisible graces of God, are mainly 7. The first ordination in the Holy Church was granted to 7 Deacons. There are 7 steps of ordination of a faithful till priest.
Let us try to lead a true life with God and in God. Our Church insists us to lead a sacramental life, which would finally lead us to eternal life.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril, Kottayam

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