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Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, Francisco Herrera the Elder (1576–1656), c.1650; Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid

One Church, one Faith, one Lord

The young lad in the Gospel story is an image of innocent humility. He offers the little he has, five loaves and two fishes. It is the virtues of humility, meekness and patience that will enable the Body of Christ to maintain its unity, one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, under one God and Father of us all.

Fear not, little flock

Every priest must reflect on the decisions he makes and that which he teaches — for he handles the things of the God for the people of God. When we stop reflecting on and seeking to be faithful to that which we have received and has been handed on by our forebears, then is the moment of greatest danger for the deacon, priest or prelate. “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!”

Isaiah receiving the burning coals

Chosen for a purpose

Most of us are not great in the eyes of the world, yet God has called us in Christ into the world to bear witness to his voice. What is it that will enable us like the prophets, saints and martyrs to continue to proclaim and to live the life of faith despite the difficulties, trials and persecutions we might face?

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

“He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief.”

In our Gospel reading we see Christ standing in the same tradition as the prophets before him. He is not only rejected here, but will eventually be abandoned by most of his disciples and be hung upon a tree. Christ marvels at the unbelief of those who have known him from his earliest years. It seems that they could not see what was in front of them.

Raising of Jairus Daughter, Ilia Efimovich Repin (1844–1930), 1871; The State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg

“You shall not die, but live”

In this lost world of sin and death, to whom can we turn? Today’s gospel reading shows two examples that it is only Our Lord who can bring us any joy, meaning and hope.

Fishing vessels offshore in a heavy sea, Ludolf Bakhuizen (1630–1708), 1684; Minneapolis Institute of Arts

In Christ we have nothing to fear

In Christ we can stand in the midst of the storm, as a new creation in him, in whom we have triumphed over sin and death in his passion and resurrection.