1 Jn 4:11-18; Ps 72:1-2, 10, 12-13; Mk 6:45-52
The Lord Jesus comes from the eternal love of the Father and the Holy Spirit and he is the one whom every nation will adore. Even the pagan rulers who do not know the Covenant and the prophets and the wisdom of the Scriptures, even these kings shall offer gifts and bring tribute. For they recognize in his power, a love they have never known. For the Lord rescues the poor when they cry out to him, and he rescues the afflicted whom everyone else ignores. The Lord Jesus has pity for the lowly and the poor; He saves the lives of the poor. Moved by the breathtaking beauty of such compassion the kings of Tarshish, Arabia, Seba, and the Isles shall bow down offering homage and the wealth of their nations. At the deepest level of the humanity they share with the poor and afflicted, these kings recognize how desperately they need the Love of God in Jesus the Christ. Those at the top even the most powerful ruler, is alone and suffers the poverty of loneliness. These poor kings need Christ as much as does the poor and afflicted of their nations.
Indeed, if God has so loved us, rich and poor—king and peasant—weak and strong, Saint John proclaims how can we not love one another? Indeed, it is this self-sacrificing love that we encounter in Christ our God that moves us beyond all the limitations we thought we had. How long now have we simply expected to be bound up by lust or any vice? How long have we simply excused ourselves from being holy because we are not nuns or monks? How long have we been satisfied with alienation from our neighbor or relative? All such limitations make us poor and afflicted. All such limitations are over-whelmed by the love of God in Christ. When we begin to live in his love then he remains in us and his love is brought to perfection in us. We live then within an abundance of the Holy Spirit, all his gifts and bearing all his fruits. Finally, we are not afraid of anything. We are not afraid to fail or to succeed. We are not afraid to forgive and forget, lest someone hurt us again. We no longer live in fear; we live in love and perfect love drives out all fear. Such is the life of a saint. Can there be any greater freedom?
Still we do not understand the incident of the loaves. Still we our hearts are hardened. Still the Lord Jesus does not give up on his poor and afflicted disciples. Because we come from a world that is so full of the certitude of science and the confidence of scientific method, we expect to be able to explain away all that does not fit comfortably into our world-view. The disciples did not understand the Lord Jesus and the compassion that moved him to show his divine power in the miracle of the loaves and fishes. They were still hesitant to accept his identity and his claim on their lives. This is why he did not just pass them by walking on the water. Because they thought they were seeing a ghost and they were terrified, the Lord Jesus spoke to them. As he had spoken to their anxious hearts in the midst of a hungry crowd, “Do not be afraid; have them sit on the ground in small groups.” Again the Lord Jesus speaks to their frightened hearts, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” In every age the disciples of Jesus need to hear these words of divine comfort. In the storms that threaten our lives and in the midst of great hunger and thirst, we hear the Lord Jesus call out, “Fear not!” Even if we do not have an easy grasp of how he feeds us or who is walking on the stormy sea that threatens our life, still we need not fear because his power is only used to reveal his love. This love is the only power that can take away all our fear because it makes our world new, capable of receiving his Kingdom. It is that same love that calls out to us in the silence of the Body Broken and the Blood Poured out “do not be afraid; I am with you and that’s all you need to know.”