Reflection for Sunday – May 29, 2016

Readings: Genesis 14: 18-20; 1 Corinthians11:23-26; Luke 9: 11b-17
Preacher: Sr. Janet Korn

Jesus was a preacher, a healer, a good storyteller, and most definitely, a leader. He could easily surround himself with more than 10,000 people, counting women and children. On the hillside that day He encouraged and strengthened the crowds who came out to hear Him with his message of caring for one another, even when it was hard. He told them to be thoughtful about people who may be worse off than they were; to give them their coat if they had two. Jesus mentioned that it was necessary to care for the strangers among them, to welcome them and to invite them into conversations as He had done.

Jesus was busy laying hands on the sick, on the blind and deaf, the paralyzed, the speechless, healing diseases, binding up wounds and making those who came to Him feel whole again. The line of people was endless. And, as the day was coming to a close his closest followers thought that Jesus should call it a day and send the crowds into town to eat and find a place to stay. That idea was a bit ridiculous given the thousands of people on the hillside so Jesus suggested that His disciples give them something to eat which to them seemed just as ridiculous.

Philip was quickly figuring out how many “man-hours” it would take to get the money to feed them and the other disciples were searching among the crowd to see how much food they could gather. As Jesus and the disciples were working this out I can’t imagine that 10,000 people, counting women and children, were sitting quietly and talking among themselves. Can’t you imagine that mothers may have been chasing their children and the men gathered in small groups discussing whether Jesus was really the Son of God?

It had to have been quite a scene. Jesus, looking at this scenario, quickly decided to have the disciples organize the crowd into smaller groups while He blessed the food that had been found and all were fed. It was amazing that 12 baskets were left over, demonstrating that noone took more food than what was necessary and I can’t help but think about what they did with it. Could have they taken it into town and given it to the needy?
That day Jesus demonstrated that He was definitely “The King of the Jews.”
He was their leader who cared totally about them, who gave life to their spirits and peace to their hearts.

Today in the United States we have other leaders who would like to take their place on “The Hill.” Some would say that a homily is no place to talk about political leadership, but it appears that we need to talk about our values and how we can integrate those values into the society and into the presumptive leaders who are calling for our attention.

They, too, have drawn great crowds, numbering into the thousands, including women and children. But some crowds have turned violent, calling each other names, striking out at one another, and needing police protection. The people who present themselves as leaders have stooped to derogatory name-calling and attempts to belittle their opponents. They have fed us with false facts that need continued monitoring in order to expose the truth.

Some words and ideas expressed on one day can be turned totally around on the following day. Words have been spoken about other countries and leaders that are demeaning and unfounded. Promises have been made that would be impossible to fulfill yet create false hope in those who believe in what they hear. There is even talk of torture as an option for truth seeking. There is little talk about how we can create peace in the world, or how we can become better neighbors. Some people are considered not worthy to be our neighbors and others will be sent back “to where they belong.” As a people let us not sink so low.

So much of what we are hearing from our possible leaders is totally contradictory to what Jesus has said to the crowds and to us. I can’t speak for everyone but generally, as a people, we long to hear the truth, to be spoken to respectfully, and to aim for higher ground. We want all people to be respected, to live peacefully, and to have enough to eat.

What do you think our prospective candidates would do with the 12 baskets left over?

Sr. Janet Korn, RSM

Sister Janet Korn, RSM, is the coordinator of Justice Ministry for Sisters of Mercy in Buffalo and Rochester. She has served as an elementary school teacher, worked as a missionary in Chile (1959-1965), and worked as the coordinator of urban ministry for the Diocesan Parish and Clergy Services.
Sr. Janet Korn, RSM

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