Jesus Feeds The World

Last Sunday’s Gospel focused on the iconic story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people from 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. This is a great story but how does it translate into the now?

Photo of Pile Of Fish
How many fish would it of taken to feed 5,000 hungry mouths?

In my time ministering to youth, the story of Jesus multiplying food that was to be the lunch of a little boy, is probably the one that garners the most amazement and disbelief (Adults tend to like the story of Jesus turning water into wine). To be honest, it’s easy to see why.

It’s a very visual story. Crowd of 5,000, each needing to be fed, 5 loaves and 2 fish are multiplied and manage to fill each of those people up!

How did it happen?

What does it look like?

These type of questions tend to pop up in relation to the story and that’s where the disbelief happens. How can one man feed so many people?

The thing we have to look at as well in relation to this story is that JESUS IS STILL FEEDING PEOPLE. In fact, Jesus feeds much more than 5,000, he feeds the whole world!

People Gathering in Concert during Night Time
Jesus still spiritually feeds crowds even bigger than 5,000 to this day

Christ tells us that by eating and drinking at his table, we will never hunger or thirst again. Jesus to this day offers us much more than sustenance to survive, he offers sustenance for the soul, sustenance to LIVE.

Jesus doesn’t call us to survive, but to live. The story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is a source of inspiration for us, of a literal time Jesus fed people, to remind us that he is still feeding us spiritually.

What we do with that gift is up to us and Jesus gives us insight to what we should do at the end of the story “Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted!” Any piece left over can not be wasted but need to be shared with those around us who struggle to see the joy and hope that Jesus offers. Jesus calls us to share hope, joy and love with all around us, but particularly to be his hands where they can often struggle to manifest themselves without out help.

Woman Surrounded By Sunflowers
How do you show joy, hope and love to those in your life?

So don’t be scared! Share the joy of your life with others! Feed others just as Jesus did and continues to do to this day. Make known the glory of heaven here on earth where it cannot be seen without your help!

The Christ We Needed…The Christ We Didn’t Want

Easter. The glorious example of God’s love for us. God sent his own son (that was also himself) to die for us and to show us how much he truly loved us.

Person Holding Easter Egg on Palette Tray

People in the time of Jesus wanted a ‘Messiah’, a saviour who would rip back the land from the Romans by force and place it back into the hands of the faithful who had long awaited for their hero.

As we know, this did not turn out to be the case. Christ died on the cross at the hands of the Romans. Christ was thinking about a far bigger picture than just the land that the Jews resided in. Christ was referring to worldwide domination as well as his kingdom in heaven…the Jews would just have to wait a while to see it.

Knight Armor

In the Gospels we see the evidence of the early Christian community starting to change their ways of thinking. Some content from the Apostle Paul suggests that he believes Christ will return in his lifetime, but as time went on, other Apostles realised that this wouldn’t be the case.

If only these early Christians could see the world now, they could realise Christs vision. Christ didn’t just die for them, he died for EVERYONE. He didn’t just mean those who were alive at that point of Christs death, but everyone who would ever exist.

Ultimately, it isn’t Christs death that makes him special, we all die, but it’s his defeat of death and rising. Christ in his rising tells us that we are to join him in the afterlife.

Jesus Christ Statue

This type of thinking would of confused the hell out of the early Christians and the Jews who thought Jesus would rise a great kingdom and cast out the Romans. Christ was just pulling off a far bigger feat, he was playing the long game.

Thanks to Jesus playing that long game, people like you and me can come to know and love Jesus rather than reading about a man in a history book who was a great conqueror and ruler in the middle east…and let’s be honest, I forget all about those great generals from the history books, I like this version of Jesus far better.

Inner Demons

Ethnic model with terrible makeup crawling at camera

In last week’s Gospel reading we hear about Jesus expelling a demon from a man’s body, an age old act of exorcism, but what message does this convey to us in the modern day?

In the Gospel, Jesus is preaching to a crowd when a man rudely interrupts him and says “What do you want with us Jesus? Have you come to destroy us?” To which Jesus responds with “Be quiet! Come out of him” and a evil spirit leaves the man and the crowd is astonished.

How many of the people in the congregation would of jumped to the conclusion that this man was rudely interrupting them and judged him accordingly? As soon as they realise what had happened though, their annoyance would of quickly turned into rejoice for the man. A similar situation happens in our everyday life.

Close-up Photography of Beige Concrete Decor

Many of us carry our own personal demons, some more than others. Some people in our community have suffered terrible upbringings and others bear the burden of pain where ever they go. Just like the man who had the demon inside of him, many people will act in a way that causes annoyance, pain and suffering to others, yet we attribute these horrible acts to the person rather than acknowledging the pain that the individual is suffering.

Jesus Christ Stained Glass

Jesus tells us that we are all loved and treasured by God, even if we do carry around demons that plague ourselves and the people around us.

How do we treat those who may be suffering? While they may cause pain to us, do we treat them like someone who is loved and deserving of our love?

Jesus calls us to love as he does, which means to love without boundaries to all, even to those who would wish us harm.

The Perfect Human Jesus

Green Dart Pointed to Dartboard

There are many areas of my life that I wish I was perfect. Sadly, like many people around the world, there are many areas of our lives we will be far less than perfect. But what about Jesus? What does he have to teach us about perfection?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible involves a pagan (non-Jew) woman who comes to Jesus and asks for his healing power. Jesus proceeds to decline her request, stating that he came for the Jews and that “You do not take the children’s bread from the table and throw it to the dogs”.

Four Assorted-color Puppies

Let’s just talk about that for a moment. This isn’t a Jesus we are used to. This is a Jesus who seems to be not so full of compassion, a Jesus unwilling to give help. A very human Jesus.

We often forget that Jesus was in fact human. A man born and raised by the people of his time, a people who held prejudices and at times were not very kind. So how can we call this imperfect man our saviour?

It is in the response we see that Jesus is indeed perfect, not perfect in the sense that he no longer had anything to learn and therefore was capable of mistakes but perfect in the sense he was able to have an open mind, despite being raised by an imperfect community to learn from his situation.

Halloween Candy Inside a Skull

After Jesus said “You do not take the children’s bread from the table and throw it to the dogs”, the woman replies by saying “But even the dogs get the scraps from the table” which Jesus is stunned by. Jesus responds with “Your faith is great! Let it be done as you desire” and Jesus heals the woman’s daughter.

How many of us change our mind when we are proven wrong? Jesus, in a position of privilege and power listened to a woman (not the done thing in the times) and quickly corrected his mistake.

There is a lot to learn from the perfect human Jesus because it is through our mistakes we grow and become better on the path to perfection, we just have to remain open to that experience as Jesus did.

“The Time Has Come!”

In this Sunday’s gospel we see Jesus make a formal announcement to the world that the time for his ministry is going to start and he does so in a very bold fashion.

Last week, Jesus met John the Baptist, a man who preached that the lamb of God would be coming soon. This week, John the Baptist is arrested. While this would normally frighten others off, Jesus decides to officially announce that his ministry would start to the world and begins to recruit many of his disciples by saying the famous line “I will make you fishers of men!”

Fish Catch

Let’s look back at the times. John the Baptist, massive supporter of Jesus, is arrested and will soon be killed. Many around Jesus spread rumours “What will Jesus do now? Surely he won’t continue on this journey!” Jesus looks at what happens and decides to do something bold. ‘THE TIME HAS COME! The Kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe in the Good News!”

Jesus takes a huge risk and doubles down. Jesus backs himself because he knows what he says he true and good and people will follow him.

Person About to Catch Four Dices

How many of us are bold like this with our faith? When those around us are persecuted for their beliefs, how many of us listen to the rumours and back down?

Jesus is calling us to be bold and believe. He calls us to follow him and listen to what he has to say.

To Love and to Love Fully

One of the toughest things Jesus asks us to do is to love.

Two Hands Holding Heart Shaped Lollipops

Some might try and quote song lyrics or some poetry that says “loving is easy” but the type of love that Jesus calls us to is anything by easy.

Its not this weeks reading but the good Samaritan provides some context into the type of love calls us to.

The priest and levite that passed Jesus are often posed as some sort of villains but I see them as reflections of myself. If the priest or levite had seen a loved one or a friend laying there, I bet they would of not hesitated to help.

The priest was too concerned with his cleanliness. He made excuses to not help. “I cant be unclean” or “it wasn’t me who beat the man” or “He looks pretty dead to me already, there is nothing I can do” are all things I bet who was running through his head.

Man's Hand in Shallow Focus and Grayscale Photography

In my life I also make excuses to not love. “He wronged me first” or “They are a bad person” are things I say or think to myself when I’m called to love EVERYONE.

Jesus doesn’t call us to love those who loves us, he calls us to love EVERYONE. There are no exceptions. The murderer on the news, the friend who cheats us, the homeless man on the street, all these, Jesus calls us to love.

Jesus doesn’t call us to be walked over and to constantly exhaust ourselves being slaves to those around us but he does call us to treat people, no matter what they have done to us, with dignity and respect.

He also didn’t just love those he believed deserved to love. He loved the children who were starving and the criminal on the cross next to him equally. He understood that each and every person was worthy of love.

Monk Surrounded by Children

How do we treat the people who have wronged us? Doe we talk behind their backs? I know, I do but it’s game over for me yet.

It’s never too late to start to love others or even just take a step in that direction. What steps will you take to begin or continue to love as Jesus taught us to? How will you love fully and without discrimination going forward?

“Come and See”

Brown Human Eye

In this coming Sunday’s reading (John 1:35-42) we hear a simple, yet profound message.

In this reading, John the Baptist is standing with two of his disciples and then all of a sudden Jesus walks past. John the Baptist is shocked and says “Hey fellas, its Jesus, the lamb of God”. Everyone is amazed! The two disciples run up to Jesus and ask “Rabbi, where do you live?” to which Jesus responds with “Come and See”. They all then go be with Jesus and some others join him and become disciples of Jesus.

I liken this experience to eating a really good meal. When you have a really good meal and someone asks “Is it good?” and since you know that the food is so good, the best thing you can do is give them a taste. Jesus does something very similar. Jesus is so confident in the message that he has to share that he simply says “come and see”.

Cooked Food

All to often in our spirituality we can get caught up with trying to explain our faith to others or convince them that our faith is real, but Jesus shows us there is a far more effective way.

Come and see. How many of us with our faith would be confident enough to simply say “come and see” to those who ask about our faith? Another valid question with this would be: Do we show our faith tangibly to the world or how do we show the joy of Christ to those around us?

Christ is within each one of us. By following in Christ and showing the world who we really are, Jesus can continue to say “Come and See” to allow more and more people to experience the love of Jesus.

Are you making room?

In this Christmas season, we always find the time to see our friends and relatives (in-laws and out-laws as well). We also find the room to fit that little bit of extra Christmas lunch in, but do we find the time and room for Jesus?

White Concrete Inn Near Green Covered Mountain at Daytime

Roughly 2000 years ago, the inn keeper could not find the room for Mary, Joseph and little baby Jesus. We look back at the occasion with wonder and awe. I often hear phrases like: “If I was the innkeeper, I would of made room for them!” or “If only they knew who they were turning away”. We just think how crazy it would be to turn someone like Jesus away, but the truth is we do this all the time.

Many times we will often fail to fit Jesus into our lives. Of course there is the obvious example of missing Church but we also fail to fit Jesus in when we don’t put in the time for those struggling around us. When we look away from the homeless or we are unkind, we fail to be Christlike and in that moment, we are actively turning Jesus away from our inn.

Girl Sitting on Woman's Lap While Holding Pen and Paper

Christ always makes it clear that there is always room for each and every one of us in his inn. So maybe, in this Christmas season, we should return the favour and open our doors to Christ by opening our hearts to the people around us and caring for those it may be a bit difficult to care for.

Bringing the Masses back to Mass

Unrecognizable men praying in old catholic church

Bringing the masses back to mass is something that many of us Catholics have the desire and drive for but how do we make this happen?

Mass attendance has slowly been declining across the board and it’s an issue we face as we look at an aging and declining Church.

The answer to this problem is evangelisation but how we go about doing this really matters. Sometimes it seems no matter what we say, we can’t seem to convince anyone to come along to mass.

Man and Woman Pose On a Cross Monument

If we truly believe that we have something special in regards to our spirituality and relationship with Christ, then it is certainly something worth sharing. So…How do we go about this?

We need to start thinking like a Star Wars fan.

You see, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I read all the books, I watch all the movies and TV shows and read up online about all the small facts that wouldn’t interest most people.

Chewbacca of Star Wars

I could tell you about all my fan theories about what I think will happen in the next episode of the Mandalorian, I could show you my favorite Star Wars creatures and I could explain the different styles of lightsaber combat. However, no matter how cool that all may seem to me, if you are not a Star Wars fan, you will not care in the slightest. Infact, you are probably turned off Star Wars even more.

If I want someone to begin to love Star Wars as much as me, I have to engage them on a more universal term. Joy. Rather than sharing my knowledge, I need to share emotion. When someone see’s how much I enjoy Star Wars, it shows them that there is something worthwhile about my hobby. By sharing joy, I draw someone towards the experience.

Girl Holding White Flower

This is the same for evangelisation. We must live as Christ taught us and show people what happens when we live to those values. We are radiant and filled with joy. We are changemakers and people who stick to their values. These are attractive aspects that make people think that there’s something worthwhile in our faith.

So go out, share the joy! Live to the fullest! Show that to the world.

“Don’t Clothe Your Hate With Faith!”

The Gospel reading this Sunday has some Pharisees cornering Jesus and putting him in a hard place, which he gets through with ease.

Like many stories in the Bible, it is clear that the Pharisees do not like Jesus. He is a rogue in the system that the rich and powerful have created. Dis-crediting Jesus would have allowed this system to continue on peacefully.

The Pharisees see an opportunity to put Jesus into a position that forces him to go against God OR Caesar, both of which would have poor outcomes for Jesus. Jesus takes a very wise path.

The Pharisees ask “Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar?” to which Jesus responds with, “Let me see the money you pay the tax with! Whose head is on the back of this coin? Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what Belongs to God”.

Silver Liberty in God We Trust 1978 Coin

Many communities face discrimination at the hands of power in our society. The poor are taken advantage of, the powerless are forced to work and the weak are trampled upon. Our faith calls us to care and look after these people where we can, which a vast majority of Christians and Catholics do. There are however groups that face discrimination at the hands of some in our Church.

Members of our LGBTIQ+ community within our world often face discrimination, particularly by those within faith communities. Often, these so-called people of faith claim that this discrimination is actually part of their faith, and that in-fact that what they are doing is out of love and not fear and hate.

Photo of Crowd of People

In my work within the Church, often I face a similar situation that Jesus faced. People come to me and ask “Do you stand by the people of the LGBTIQ+ community or do you disagree with them wholeheartedly because the Bible says (Insert a Bible verse here)”. This puts me in a difficult situation, but following the advice of Jesus, I can navigate this situation. “Why do you put me in this position? Why do you trap me? How do you treat these children of God? Do you treat them with discrimination, hate and malice? Do not clothe your hate with faith!”

By placing ourselves above others, we make it easy to look down upon those who make choices that we don’t understand or agree with. If we are people of faith, then we must also act like it.

What are we giving to God and what are we giving to ‘Caesar’ within our own lives? Are we living up to the examples that Jesus laid before us and are we treating those in our lives with respect and love. We must not be as small minded as the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus and try to clothe our hate with faith.