August 7, 2017 – Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Sixtus II, Pope, and Companions, Martyrs
Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (email@example.com)
Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (14:13-21)
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.”
He 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.
Reflect: They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over – twelve wicker baskets full. In today’s gospel, Jesus encounters the crowd and “his heart was moved with pity for them.” He starts by curing the sick, and then he feeds the hungry crowd of “five thousand men, not counting women and children” with “five loaves and two fish.” Remarkably, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. The compassion of our God can never be understated. Jesus reaches out to us with incomparable love and mercy; he is lavish in generosity! We think in limited earthly terms, but Jesus showers us with superabundant heavenly portions of grace. His love is beyond our imaging. Let us pray for the faith to expect that Jesus will forever respond to our needs with limitless generosity – because he does and he will!
Questions: Do I limit Jesus by expecting him to respond to my needs only in limited earthly terms? Can this gospel passage help me to begin to imagine the depth of God’s love for me? Do I believe that God wants to show me his love and mercy beyond all imaging?
Pray: Loving God, you can never be outdone in compassion and mercy. Help me to trust in your limitless love for me, and give me the faith to believe that you will provide for me in superabundant portions. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.
Saint Sixtus II and Companions: Pray for us!
Sixtus, “a good and peaceable priest” was consecrated Bishop of Rome in the year 257. The next year, the Roman Emperor Valerian began a systematic extermination of deacons, priests and bishops. When soldiers found Sixtus celebrating the Eucharist for the faithful in a cemetery along the Appian Way he and four deacons were killed by the sword. Sixtus was buried across the road in the famous catacombs of Saint Callistus. According the inscription at his tomb, he offered his life to protect the gathered faithful.
ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN (Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26)
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