A priest and a Buddhist monk are friends. The priest is a pastor of a big church in town. The Buddhist monk is the head of a small monastery in the area. They often get together to exchange conversations and share their knowledge and experiences. One day, the Buddhist monk says, “Our people are having a fundraising to build a new temple because our members are growing and our current temple is too old and too small. We really need a new temple. Can you give us a hand?”
The priest replies, “I am afraid that my bishop would not allow us to do so. We are not allowed to contribute to build a pagan temple or to promote pagan religion.”
The Buddhist monk understands, so he does not pressure the priest anymore. A week later, he receives a letter from the priest with $500 in it. The letter says, “My bishop does not allow us to contribute to the fund to build a new temple, but I believe that he would agree with me to contribute to the destruction of the old temple. So here is my contribution to help you to abolish the old temple.”
Living in the United States for 36 years, I have learned that our American culture is also a giving culture. We give gifts many times during the year. We give gifts at Christmas, birthdays, weddings, anniversary, graduation, father’s day, mother’s day, baptisms, baby showers. We feed the hungry on Thanksgiving days. We are often generous and be the first nation to respond to natural disasters for humanitarian aids. Many of our people cannot ignore but help people who are in needs.
Almsgivings, giving to charity, acts of love, helping others are activities to indicate a person of good heart. Good heart is a manifestation of God’s love and goodness. Goodness is Christian character. God’s goodness is being shown in the words of Isaiah today, “All you who are thirsty come to the water. You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk.”This is the invitation from God. This invitation indicates God’s love and compassion. God’s compassion for us is unlimited.
Recently, NASA released the pictures of the sun from satellite observation. The sun's surface is about 10,000 Fahrenheit degree. However, scientists measure the corona, which extends several times the radius of the sun into space, as much hotter; reaching temperatures of millions of degrees. For thousands or millions of years energy has been carried from the Sun's surface into the Sun's outer atmosphere to provide energy for the earth. Who is behind the mysteries about how energy gets out of the Sun and into the solar system? Who is continuously providing resources for the solar power? Who is behind the Earth-Sun interactions? The sun and the earth continue to provide us resources for life. Who is behind all of this? We believe that God is behind it all. God’s love and God’s generosity are the sources of our life. And his goodness is unlimited.
It is this God who is inviting us today to come to Him to receive the nutrition and nourishments of life. “Come, receive and eat!” This is Isaiah's invitation and God's invitation. And the implication is that there's no waiting to receive the blessing of the Lord. Come and be satisfied. Now! Our God is a loving God. God loves us. We need to believe this. God sent his only begotten Son to redeem us. God’s love for us is unchangeable and inseparable. St. Paul says in the second reading, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.” St. Paul says it very explicitly that nothing can stop God loving us.
But there is one thing that can prevent the love of God from coming into our life. And that is YOU! You and only you can prevent God from loving you. Nothing in the universe can stop God from loving you. Nothing in the world, no person, no power, no catastrophe can stop God but you. You can decide to let God love you or to prevent God from loving you. You can decide to stay in love with God or to stay out of His love.
In today’s gospel we have the example where thousands of people are being around Jesus. They have no food. But one person takes this little bit of two loaves and fishes and gives them to Jesus and Christ is able to feed thousands of people. It is important that we contribute our little part in God’s works. The Gospel story explains this. When it is late, the disciples ask him to send the people away to find food. Jesus tells them, “You give them something to eat.”
They question him, “Do you really mean that? Do you want us to feed them? We only have five loaves and two fish. There is not enough available resource to meet the needs of so large a crowd. We don’t even have enough for ourselves.”
But when Jesus tells them, “Bring them here to me,” the disciples give him that little they have. And Jesus is able to make miracle out of their little resources. Do you have that little to give to Jesus? Jesus continues to do this in our life. If we give him the little that we have that is our freedom, our choice, our concern, our attention, our willingness to participate in God’s life, then God’s love will not be prevented from us. Msgr. Browne explains, “It becomes paramount to look into your life to see what separates you from the love of God. Nothing out there separates you, only you. Decide “I will put an impediment between God’s love and me,” and the result will be that God cannot overcome your indifference. He cannot overcome your unwillingness, your failure to respond to his love. Only you can remove the impediments, and you can do that in little ways. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just an admission that “I am a sinner. I will repent. I will reform my life. I can do better. I can be more charitable. I can overcome the weaknesses, the difficulties in my life with the love of God if I am willing to offer myself to God.” (God First Sermons, Vol III, 145-6).
Give your share so God can make miracle in your life. Give your share, so that God can make miracles in our community and in the world today.