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“…since the foundation of the world”
The entire foundation of the material universe began with an infinitely small thing, a singularity. This little thing then expanded and grew; Time and Space, energy and matter, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, et al then us, humanity.
Yes, there is a deep wisdom that resides in creation; God communicates a deep truth.
For me, giving into my fears was the fabric of my life. Those fears made me give up way to easily.
And I looked for a miracle, something huge that would change everything for me…and it never came.
What did arrive was simple gifts, like simple fish and loaves, that helped me to eventually understand, see and live differently.
That saving moment was a panic attack years ago.
Despair still always lurks, it hovers inside even to this day. It likes to come out when I feel overwhelmed by life.
When I feel it coming out, if I am alert, I go back to the core. I am a beloved child of God, and nothing can diminish that.
2Kgs 4:42-44; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15
Salvation is to know, trust and experience the very love of the Father.
Salvation is to know and experience that the very core of our being, our identity is that we are beloved children of God.
Salvation is manifested in our trust, in our hope, in our openness, in going beyond our limits. The Salvation of Jesus Christ is manifested in our attitude and choices.
And the Opposite of Salvation, I would say is Despair.
Despair is when we give up, when we lose hope; it is when we quit growing; quit acting; and we see no other way in solving problems. It is an attitude of defeatism. We only see failure, failure, failure. We connect our identity to things, and our own ability to succeed.
So the question for us: Are we living out our salvation in Christ, or are we living in despair?
Now, I don’t think that this a black and white answer. Because I don’t think we always recognize despair and its influences upon us. It is not always this pure darkness, not this pure depression.
I think our readings help us to see that despair can be quite subtle. And conversely, living Salvation begins with simple acts. Philip and the servant of Elisha were verging on despair. They were confronted by a large problem, and their response was “What good will this actually do?”
I would say both were overwhelmed by the situation, and had little hope or trust that they could affect any difference. They saw failure, and only failure.
Recently, a person had asked me about the possibility of offering a retreat for a group. I asked what kind of topic. The person said: “How about how evil the world is.” My reply was that the world is not evil; God created a world that is Good. So the world is Good! The response back was: What about all the shooters and violence? My response was, that yes, people can and do evil and stupid things, but the world still remains Good. There was no response, except a turning of the back and walking away.
I am thinking that this person has given into despair. When we see no good, all is evil; we have given up.
And I hear a bit from others lamenting about the state of the world, politics et al. And people so caught up in their lives with addictions, marital and family problems, illness…
People in despair, people who are losing their hope only see the violence, the threats against them and their way of life. People who can’t see beyond their own pain. Despair sets in, and it gets hard to see the little things and not so little things that are happening that are making a difference.
It can become hard to see those subtle gifts being offered that make such a difference.
Gifts such as the thousands each week who are being fed and cared for through the network of Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada, and how they are working with other Christian and civil groups to continue to offer services to those in need.
Gifts such as this coming week, over 200 kids will gather here in Reno for Catholic Heart Work Camp, and they will go throughout our community offering assistance in many different forms to those in need.
Simple gifts such as the men and women who go to nursing homes to visit, bring communion, bring community to our elderly.
See, goodness is being done. People are manifesting salvation: People are providing hope to others.
And for those who claim an evil world, recently I saw a video that actually shows we are in a long period of historic peace. The number of wars and violence since the end of WWII has decreased.
Salvation is to hope for change, to look for change and to act. Salvation is to believe that there is goodness and to work for that goodness. Salvation is to trust that evil will not win.
Again in the readings, simple gifts were provided, and a risk was taken in using those gifts, and all were fed. Good was done in a very subtle way.
This is the Good News. Christ calls us to see differently, to act differently, to not give into our fears, our egos, into despair.
Yes, we recognize that there is evil in our world, but we TRUST that the evil will not win, and we make choices against it.
And isn’t that the whole celebration of the Eucharist in a nutshell?
We come together as a community, to know that we are not alone. We listen to God’s great plan, covenant, that God is always with us. We remember that plan made flesh and blood in Emmanuel, Jesus Christ. We eat and drink of his resurrected body and blood; sacrament of God’s victory over evil, a victory that surprised all.
And of course, we then GO.
Go and live out that salvation
Go and make choices that bring about this salvation more and more
Go and spread the Good News…We live in a Good and Holy World.
Jesus, the Son of God, makes present and real, the care of God. Jesus is the real, concrete love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are being cared for.
Sounds wonderful doesn’t it.
In the big scheme of things, It means that we do not live in an uncaring, cold, heartless materialistic, evil universe.
God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Lord God, Mighty God, great King over all the Gods, cares for us and wants to guide us. And in our personal lives, there can be healing.
If we know what we need to be healed of.
Look how that happens in our Gospel today. The disciples are tired, they have been working hard, and great demands have been placed upon them. Jesus sees this, and takes them on retreat, if you will, to let them rest.
He knows what they need.
Jesus also sees a crowd of people who need caring for, they seem lost, they are hungry for more, and he teaches them.
He knows what they need.
Clearly, the same applies to us. All of us need this divine care; of course, the real “Trick” is do WE know what we truly need?
We can be very good at telling God what we think we need; more money, more democrats, more republicans, or less democrats, less republicans, more food, more chocolate, more patience, more strength, more time, less stress, more miracles…
But maybe the answer lies much deeper. How Jesus truly heals us also lies more deeper than the above wishes. So we must go deeper in our own prayers. We need to search our hearts and minds; reflect and meditate.
We need to understand too, that healing is often a process because The way of Jesus is a journey, it is of wisdom.
It is being re-centered upon Faith that the Father is caring for us; it is trusting in the way of Jesus, that is the way of being compassionate, merciful, forgiving, giving of ourselves, in other words the way of love.
This is healing for us.
So for example, how many of us want patience! We recognize that we are angry and impatient with our spouses, with our kids, our family, friends, the person who drives up Plumb Lane at 27 mph, when it clearly says we can go 30! We want to be “cured” or “healed” of our impatience. We want to be patient and we want it NOW.
Yet, the answer is deeper…how often our anger, our impatience comes from our ego. We want others to do what we want them to do! And when they don’t, we get angry, impatient, furious!
The real answer that God to give us through Jesus, is humility. God is God, not you, nor me, nor any of us; and I, you, we, cannot control others. The real care is submission, humility to God and to our reality; and of course communication.
Let’s face it, if we are impatient with someone we love, then there is something that needs to be talked about.
This applies to so much more. Our real cure lies in forgiving others, and being forgiven.
It takes place in compassion and mercy; generosity…all those virtues that Jesus preached, lived, died for and was validated for in the resurrection.
Freedom, Salvation is to accept this Good News, God is with us; not out to get us. The suffering that we inflict on ourselves, that we inflict on others, that others try to inflict on us, can be assuaged.
When we understand this, that God is with us; then we can be energized to live this out.
Because this is not just about our own individualistic healing; we are cared for for a reason, for Mission.
The disciples were tired, Jesus took them on a break; so that they can continue in their ministry.
Jesus teaches the crowds so that they can live this wisdom and make a real difference in their communities.
It is the same with us.
Let’s go out there and be open to the Love of God
Let’s go out there and share our own care and healing with others.
Let’s go and be those living signs of God’s love and care for all.