Day 6: Monday of 1st week of Lent

FEEDING

 

  1. Document: Holy Scripture Readings

1.1.  First Reading: Book of Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18

1.2.  Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St Matthew 25:31-46

1.3.  Simple Comment: Moses in the book of Leviticus reports to the Israelites the provisions of God’s commandments. In fact, every single provision ends with the phrase: I am the Lord. These can be summarized in a single phrase: deal justly and kindly with your neighbor, meaning act this way just as you would want others to act towards you, and  just as God acted justly and dealt kindly with you! But Jesus in today’s Gospel elevates the import of this tit-for-tat. In this third parable of the end times, dealing justly and kindly with one’s neighbor is dealing justly and kindly with God himself, meaning since in Jesus, God became one of us, whatever we do to each other we do to Him who is our brother, and to God who is the Father of us all.

 

  1. Monument: Tabgha

2.1.  If one considers the Sea of Galilee like a clock, with the mouth of the Jordan River at 12 o’clock, Tabgha is at 10 o’clock between Capernaum at 11 o’clock and Gennesaret at 9 o’clock. The name Tabgha is an Arabic shortening of a Greek name, Heptapegon which means Seven Springs. Due to these springs, fish congregate in that area during winter looking for warmer water. Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, and their fishing partner Zebedee with his sons John and James, frequented this place. Jesus might have met Peter and Andrew in this area when he invited them to follow him, and further along also John and James fixing their nets with their father Zebedee.

2.2.  Inland of Tabgha there rises a little mound with plenty of grass and here took place the multiplication of the loaves and fishes for the huge crowd of Jesus’ listeners: 5,000 men not counting women and children. It is one of the few miracles that is reported by all four evangelists. It means that this event was crucial in the faith of the early Christians; in fact, it is significant even to our day inasmuch as it relates to the institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper, the memorial we remember every time we celebrate the Holy Mass.

 

  1. Lenten Reflection

3.1.  Last Ash Wednesday we received the injunction of the three practices of the Lenten season: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Feeding the hungry is definitely a form of charity encouraged during this holy season. In fact, if in the following days we con-sistently deal kindly with our hungry neighbor (mind you, there are different forms of hunger not just the material one, like an elderly relative who is hungry for affection, or an officemate, hungry for understanding), then we might get into the habit (doing the same thing for forty days can create a habit, Stephen Covey says) of dealing kindly with our neighbor all the time. Our Lenten almsgiving transforms us into life-giving persons.

3.2.  Moreover, if in these forty days, we make it a habit to be fed by the bread of life in the daily Eucharist and in so doing it would demand that we abstain from grievous sin (whether sins of commission or of omission), then we might get into the habit of giving importance to Jesus’ living presence in this sacrament, and He becomes effectively for us the Way and the Truth that leads to lasting Life.

 

  1. Contemporary Filipino Question: Material hunger is a daily occurrence almost 1.2 billion people, a seventh (17 %) of the world’s population. In our country under-nourishment occurs to more than a third (40%). Can we afford to eat our daily fare and forget our hungry neighbor, who effectively is the hungry Christ? Even more, can we be so devoted to go to communion each day and not deal kindly with our neighbor?