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2 Peter 1:16-19: Our Testimony

Guido Reni: St. Peter Penitent

Guido Reni: St. Peter Penitent

Friday, August 12, 2022

If we have doubted the value of God’s glory or the truth of Christ’s generosity of love so abundant that there is always some left over, we might listen to the words of one who lived side by side with Jesus. Peter is the one upon whom Jesus builds his church despite denying Jesus on the night he was arrested. And he is also the first to declare that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16) when Jesus asks his followers: Who do you say that I am? Our human doubt brings us the opportunity to make a declaration like Peter’s. Our life encounters with the risen Christ are not only gifts offered by a loving brother, they are opportunities to proclaim our own testimony of Christ’s glory . . . and of God’s love that always offers something left over.

In four different versions of these verses, Peter describes his Jesus experience.

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we have been eyewitnesses of his majesty. (NAB)

We weren’t, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes. (The Message)

For we have not by following artificial fables, made known to you the power, and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness. (DRA)

For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. (NASB)

When we spend time with these and other translations, we have our own opportunity to give voice to our witnessing. We have a chance to proclaim God’s goodness and love. We have an invitation to declare our own story of Christ’s love so abundant that there is always some left over.


Image from: http://www.wikiart.org/en/guido-reni/st-peter-penitent


Deuteronomy 30:11-14 & Luke 24:13-35: An Eternal Promise eucharist-5

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Eucharist: Thanksgiving represented in the gift of bread and wine we receive each time we share in Jesus’ liturgy. As Jesus gives thanks to the creator when he multiplies fish and loaves of barley, so too are we called to give thanks when we share in Christ’s presence in Eucharist.

For this command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. 

From the oldest stories of the Torah to the new life described in the Gospels, God has in mind a plan for our redemption. We are created in God’s image and we are given the freedom to choose a life of truth and light. At times we are able to follow Christ. At other times we betray his goodness and generosity. In his great love, Christ is patiently and repeatedly turning back for his lost sheep. The promise of the Old Covenant and the miracles of the Old and New Testament are continual reminders of this promise.

Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? 

In Deuteronomy God asks the faithful to love with a whole heart, whole mind and whole body. In the last words of Luke’s Gospel we hear and see the testimony of the Emmaus disciples that the risen Christ continues to fulfill God’s promise of redemption through his body and blood. The bread in the desert becomes the multiplied fish and loaves . . . and then becomes Christ himself. For this reason we look on these signs and wonders as more than metaphor. Christ rescues us actually and not symbolically. The Spirit resides is us really and not figuratively. God continues to guide and protect us truly and not allegorically. Of this we can be certain. Of this we can be sure. And God’s gift of daily Eucharist is the vehicle of this eternal promise . . . the Old Testament stories from the Torah and Kings are a foreshadowing of the promise incarnate in the Gospel Jesus.


Image from: https://epicpew.com/jesus-is-alive-in-the-eucharist-heres-the-proof/

Eucharist definition from: http://www.united-catholic-church.org/FAITH/catholic/def-euch.htm


John 6:52-71: Some Left Over – Part Xbread-and-wine

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

In so many ways, and on most of our days, we ask God as Jesus’ disciples do in today’s Noontime: This [bread of life discussion] is hard; who can accept it?

Jesus says to his disciples as he says to us: Does this shock you? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

And we may question as Jesus’ followers always do: Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Jesus knows that we do not understand the full impact of his words and he also knows that he will be betrayed by us in some way great or small. And so Jesus says: Did I not choose you? Yet is not one of you a devil?

Jesus refers here to Judas and he might also be referring to one of us; yet so great is Christ’s heart, so magnanimous is the Creator and so transforming is the Spirit that God’s unbounded love can heal each of us when we return to Christ with our foibles and faults fully visible in our hands as offering to our loving God.

God says: No matter how egregious or small the error, no matter how heinous or petty the action, no matter how deceitful or damaging the word, my love is great enough to redeem you. My heart is full enough to heal you. My wish to have you with me in all space for all time is greater than any wrong you may have done. Turn to me, for in my eternal living there is always enough love left over.

Compare these verses in various versions of the Bible using the scripture, and listen for God’s words of eternal promise and everlasting life.


Image from: https://creativemarket.com/camaralenta/1227831-Grapes-wheat-bread-and-wine-featuring-wine-bread-and-communion


John 6:36-51: Some Left Over – Part IX

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

It is inevitable, we know, that when light begins to call the faithful together darkness arrives, and so once Jesus announces his offering of eternal bread, the complaining begins.

Murmur not among yourselves: Jesus says to the grumblers and to those who saw him grow up in the carpenter’s family. They ask: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? And Jesus replies: Whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.

As this story unrolls to reveal God’s enormous love, where do we stand? Do we number among the grumblers to look past the risen Christ who stands before us, offering us the Eucharist as God’s eternal sustenance for an eternal life? Or do we follow this healer. Do we scatter the bread he breaks open? Do we tend to Christ’s sheep? Do we gather up all that is left over to share with those who have yet to arrive?

We look for answers to these questions as we compare varying versions of these verses. And we look for bread that will live forever, the bread that Christ gives for the life of the world.

To read about the restored mosaic in the ancient church at Tabgha commemorating the miracle of multiplication, click on the image above, or visit: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=10&Issue=3&ArticleID=1 

Tomorrow, words of eternal life.


Image from: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=10&Issue=3&ArticleID=1


John 6:16-35: Some Left Over – Part VIIIloaves-fish

Monday, August 8, 2022

Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel contains what is called the Bread of Life Discourse in which Jesus amplifies the miracle his followers have just witnessed, the multiplication of loaves and fish. Bracketed by this miracle and discussion of Jesus as eternal bread is a well-known story: Jesus walks across the stormy waters to rescue his friends from their swamped boat, saying, “It is I. Do not be afraid”. Now the disciples have ears that are ready to hear the love story Jesus wants to impart. The miracle of fish and loaves will expand at the last Passover meal Jesus will share with them to encompass the world in the Creator’s enormous embrace of love. The bread and wine that Jesus will part with them will become Christ’s body and blood. The multiplication of loaves, the breaking of bread and the offering of wine will be experienced in a momentary reality that becomes an eternal embrace of love. The miracles they have experienced – and those they will continue to experience – are more than mere metaphor. They are an act of love.

We search for the Living Christ just as the people do in verses 22-24), and when we ask: “When did you get here?”  Jesus tells us: You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life.

Explore verses 22 through 35 and compare various versions to discover what Jesus’ words mean to us on this day in this time. When and where do we find eternal sustenance? How and why do we seek eternal bread? With whom do we share our own stories of encounters with the resurrected Christ? And what changes can we imagine in our little lives that will lead us to unity in Christ’s eternal life?

Tomorrow, murmuring.


Image from: https://tben.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/7-miracles-in-the-book-of-john-part-7/


John 6:1-15: Some Left Over – Part VIIfive-loaves-of-bread-and-two-fish

Sunday, August 7, 2022

John’s recounting of the multiplication story brings us even more insight and perhaps answers to questions raised over the last several days. Is this a miracle of greed becoming generosity or does Jesus actually multiply bread and fish? Why does God bring together so many in need? Why does Jesus ask the apostles to provide food when he knows they do not have the funds to do so? How is it that the Spirit heals so generously and so completely?

A large crowd followed Jesus and his disciples because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.

God’s response to our many needs to walk among us as one of us. Let us pray that we leave our hearts and minds open to this presence.

“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Jesus said this to test Philip, because he himself knew what he was going to do.

Jesus’ instruction of those closest to him is constant and loving. Let us pray that we treat others with this same respect and dignity.

When they had their fill, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted”.

The Spirit’s power to heal cannot be overestimated. Let us pray that we have the foresight to honor the Spirit as we ought.

So they collected the fragments, and filled twelve baskets from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world”.

And so we pray as we explore God’s word.

Jacopo Tintoretto, Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

When we encounter God’s generosity, we pray for humility so that we might give thanks for this enormous gift.

When we come upon Jesus’ warmth and presence, we pray for clarity so that we might follow wherever the path of discipleship leads us.

When we receive the Spirit’s healing, we pray for confidence so that we might join him in his loving response to pain and need.

We pray as we reflect on this well-known story of God’s presence in our lives. And we do this in Jesus’ name, in union with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

For more detail of the Tintoretto image, visit: https://www.christianiconography.info/metropolitan/2017/loavesFishesTintoretto.html

Tomorrow, bread of life. 


Images from: https://www.christianiconography.info/metropolitan/2017/loavesFishesTintoretto.html and https://www.olgparish.org/olg-news-events/2018/6/15/loaves-and-fishes


Luke 9:10-17: Some Left Over – Part VImultiplication-of-loaves-and-fishes-c-osseman

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Once more we read about this miracle of feeding thousands. Some say that the true miracle was that, moved by Jesus’ words and hunger pangs, the crowd pulled food secreted in pockets that they ordinarily would not have shared. This version of this story rests on several points: 1) those following Jesus were a greedy lot, 2) Jesus’ amazing words that moved the crowd to uncharacteristic sharing have been left out of the six Gospel descriptions of these events, and 3) the crowd not only shared their food but donated their leftovers to some unknown recipients. We might spend a lifetime debating these arguments, or we might instead reflect on the points above in the following way as Luke suggests.

God the Creator gives us far more than we can ever hope to equal. Today we give thanks for God’s immense generosity.

Jesus our Brother offers us an intimate relationship of sustenance that we can never hope to exceed. Today we give thanks for Christ’s redeeming love.

The Holy Spirit brings us an outpouring of healing and consolation that we can never hope to surpass. Today we give thanks for the Spirit’s abiding patience and persistence.

Examining the citation using the scripture link above, we determine to show generosity, love and patience to our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Tomorrow, John’s story of multiplication of generosity, love and patience.


Image from: http://www.tolleetlege.com/meditations/not-enough-gospel-reading-for-the-eighteenth-sunday-in-ordinary-time/


Mark 8:1-10: Some Left Over – Part Vdownloadmore fish and loaves

Friday, August 5, 2022

Although some scholars believe that these descriptions of four and five thousand are the same event, there are those who believe that Jesus des large crowds on a number of occasions. Each of us has the opportunity today to reflect on the times we have been nourished by his presence.

We use the scripture link to bring a fresh perspective to familiar details, and reflect on the following points.

Despite knowing that the apostles do not have the money to feed so many, Jesus offers his apostles the option of giving of themselves before he steps in. What actions have we taken that rob others of an opportunity to serve?

Perhaps knowing that the apostles question the need to feed so many, Jesus speaks openly of how his heart is moved with pity for the crowd. What actions can we perform that affirm our own interest in serving God’s people?

Understanding that the act of sharing asks us to give more than we may receive, we look for opportunities to advocate for those who go hungry through no fault of their own. What social action can we take today in the name of Jesus Christ?

This miracle is also described in Matthew 15:32-39

Tomorrow, how does Luke tell this story of God’s abundance?


Image from: https://wherepeteris.com/multiplication-of-loaves-and-fish-a-miracle-within-the-miracle/


Matthew 14:13-21: Some Left Over – Part IVloaves and fish

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Today’s story of the feeding of thousands follows the death of Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist. Perhaps it is for this reason that Jesus withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But as often happens with Jesus, the crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. Matthew also tells us that Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. In his deep compassion and love for these crowds, Jesus challenges his apostles to find food for the weary and needy. When the twelve report that all they have is five loaves and two fish, Jesus steps in to provide. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over – twelve wicker baskets full. 

Today as we reflect on this familiar story, we use the scripture link to bring a fresh perspective to familiar details and reflect on the following three points.

Despite his weariness and sorrow, Jesus is moved by emotion to tend to those who need him, knowing that ultimately there will be some left over. What social action can we take today on behalf of God’s people?

Having had their fill, Jesus’ followers gather up what is left over, knowing that God’s plenty is not to be squandered. What social action can we take today on behalf of God’s creation?

Weary from our own travels and fearful of the future, we hesitate to trust God and give from our need; we are tempted to trust ourselves and give from our surplus. What social action can we take today in the name of God’s holy Spirit?

This miracle is also described in Mark 6:34-44. 

Tomorrow, Mark and the feeding of four thousand. 


Image from: https://fravelinogonzalez.com/2015/07/26/homily-2015-07-26/

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