‘Surely, nothing can come between God’s love for us and ourselves, God’s love made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord’.
This is Paul’s message in the second reading for this Sunday’s Mass
One way we witness God’s love is through him feeding us, as we pray in the Psalm; God is the one who always provides for our needs. In the gospel, we see Jesus who at times takes the initiative, and heals those who are sick, while at other times waits for the disciples to point out that the people were hungry and needed feeding. Was Jesus not aware of this? Did he really need to make use of the five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand men, together with their women and children?
God invites our participation in his ministry, even if this is poor and weak, so that, as the Church prays in the third preface of the Sundays in Ordinary Time, ‘… the cause of our downfall might become the means of our salvation.’ By surrendering their five loaves of bread and two fish, the apostles made it possible for Jesus to feed the whole crowd. Jesus also asked the disciples to minister to the people by handing out the loaves and fishes to those waiting to be fed.
Joseph De Piro, was a priest and missionary, who founded ‘The Missionary Society of St. Paul. He was dynamic and regardless of his many weaknesses, still offered himself to minister to God’s people. God called Joseph De Piro to serve a large variety of ministries; at one moment, he was involved in around fifty-four activities. Yet, De Piro was quite limited both physically and academically. Moreover, in the discernment exercises he did to determine two fundamental decisions in his life, he admitted that he was a sinner.
God does not choose those who are spiritually good and physically able to carry out his mission. He often calls those who recognise their limitations. Once they surrender to his call and allow Him to mould them, God equips and strengthens them to carry out his mission.
This week I had the joy of helping to administer confessions on the Mercy Bus – it was back on the bus to spread the Joy of the Gospel. The friends of Divine Mercy Scotland were taking the Mercy Bus back out on the road. The response has been overwhelming. Pope Francis said ‘the way of the Church is precisely to leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the outskirts of life. It is to adopt fully God’s own approach.’ The FODMS are obeying that invitation in taking the church to the people. Everyone is welcome to come along and visit our ‘Church on wheels’!
Pope Francis is telling us not all are going to Mass, therefore we have to go out and evangelise to them – to go to the streets, shopping centres and bring the message of Christ to all peoples. The bus offers the Sacrament of Confessions, confidential chats, hospitality (Hope) and Prayer.
The people are needing something different. Evangelising is showing God’s love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness. There is nothing complicated in this! – it is simple, tangible and understandable. Welcoming God’s mercy back into your life. Nothing is impossible to God. Mercy is an expression of God’s unconditional love. But let’s remember – We don’t deserve mercy but God wills it for us.
Please look after yourselves and your families. You are in my prayers and thoughts.