Seeking the created not the creator – 18th Sunday in ordinary time – John 6:24-35
Today’s Gospel is a continuation, if you please, of last Sunday’s Gospel text. To refresh your memory, last Sunday’s we heard of the multiplication of the fish and the loaves. At the end of the sign (Remember that the Gospel of St John does not have ‘miracles’ but signs) Jesus left the place as he realized that the people, whose bellies were full wanted to take him and make him king by force.
For the crowds, the sign they experienced was about having a belly full of food they failed to see that the real sign was Jesus. Even though the crowd acclaimed Jesus as prophet and sought to make him king (John 6:14-15), they seem not to have really understood the significance of what happened in the feeding miracle (John 6:1-14). Last Sunday they called him a prophet even though it was clear he was the long-awaited Messiah. The simply chose to see what they wanted.
That brings me to my first reflection. Who is Jesus to me? The correct answer is my Lord and saviour. Any other expression is secondary. There are many who in order to sound secular and popular treat Jesus as ‘a god’ or ‘one of the gods’. Jesus is GOD, the only begotten son of the father. This must be our confession of faith no matter what. We cannot choose to see Jesus the way we wish to in order to sound secular or socially acceptable.
The Gospel now tells us that Jesus heads to Capernaum, his de facto headquarters in Galilee and is quickly followed by the same crowds. At first Jesus confronts them. “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6:26), I do not think Jesus was scolding the crowd for seeking bread because they were hungry. I think Jesus was disappointed that the crowd did not expect more, not more bread but something more. Sadly, because they found a source for food, they were not looking for Jesus, they are looking the man who could keep feeding them.
I promised you that I would come back to you each month to keep you abreast with what is happing in the parish. The pandemic seems to keep us away from worshipping in Church but I do hope it has not kept you away from Our Lord Jesus Christ. To this effect we have ensured that we broadcast Sunday mass and the daily Gospel teaching; the links are sent to you via your animators on the WhatsApp group. It is my fervent hope that each family has submitted at least one family members cell phone details to the SCC animator. This is our only way to communicate with you. Please remember that while we at the parish have made every attempt to reach out and communicate to you, those who do not co-operate in this matter cannot claim ignorance of matters pertaining to the Church. We are not asking for your bank details, just one number of a family member to keep you abreast and informed of what is happening in the parish.
I am happy to let you know that our new parish office has been inaugurated. This space was designed and renovated by our own parishioner, Luis. We asked Edwin and Flory D’souza who are grandparents to do the honour of cutting the ribbon. I will now be available to parishioners on a daily basis for pastoral matters, Monday to Saturday on the ground floor, in the new parish office. Please note that for office matters you will need to follow the office timings. I hope that with this there is great accessibility to the priests and availability on our part for you. In time, the store room on the ground floor will be converted into a meeting room so that all meetings can be held at the ground floor itself. With this, I hope that movement to the father’s private rooms will be limited to the necessary and urgent only.
Last month I made an appeal to you my dear parishioners to give us one rupee or one percent of your monthly income towards the community welfare fund. This fund which I am told hovered at Rs 30,000 has now gone up, thanks to your contribution, to Rs1,70,620 for the month of June. I am grateful to many of you who have responded to this call and I hope that all our parishioners will contribute to the fund.
Last month we reached out to 96 families and provided food grains; this means that we have to keep aside close to a lakh of rupees from the fund towards the care of those who are needy. This is in addition to the 55 fresh meals that are made available thrice a week to our parishioners. I have also given Rs 50,000 in medical assistance this month.
The Visitation Piero di Cosimo C 1490 National Gallery of Art, Washington
The artist presents the meeting of two mothers who have miraculously conceived. The young Virgin leans to embrace her elderly cousin. As their gaze and hands affectionately meet, it’s the encounter of the human and the divine. The intimacy of the moment is interrupted by several Christmas-related scenes in the background. In the foreground, St Nicholas and St Anthony Abbot sit on either side. At the centre lies a sprig of a wallflower symbolizing Divine Love. The painting revolves around this love – the love of God made man, the love of two brave mothers, and the love of ordinary humans who believed in the extraordinary love of God. Let this love embrace us today!
Education of the Virgin Diego Velazquez 1617 – 18 Yale University Art Gallery
The painting is devoid of details. Within a dark room, we see Joaquim, Anna, little Mary, and the Divine messenger who ushers in a heavenly glow. Notice that Joaquim holds a basket of provisions while Anna holds on to the Word of God. Together they provide for Mary’s physical and spiritual needs.The parents gaze at each other in faith. As Mary’s index finger meets with that of her mother, it heralds the dawn of a New Creation with Mary as the New Eve. The little Virgin gazes at us while listening to the Word of God. The Word entered into her and became flesh. The Word dwells among us. Gentle and wise, let’s pray to Mary to show us the way to Paradise.
The Dream of Solomon Luca Giordano 1694 – 1695 Museo del Prado
The scene unfolds upon billows of clouds. We are captivated by the image of God the Father. His outstretched arms symbolize His unfailing providence. Notice the ray of wisdom that travels from the Father to the serene king. Above the king, the artist depicts the Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. In her left hand, she holds a Lamb seated on a book. It is reminiscent of the Lamb of God and the fulfillment of the scriptures. In her right hand, the Minerva holds a shield bearing the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Solomon chose the difficult right over the easier wrong. He chose wisdom because he knew that if God was with him, nobody could stand against him. To Solomon, ‘the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom.’
Fr. Warner D'Souza is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Bombay. He has served in the parishes of St Michael's, Mahim, St Paul's, Dadar East, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bandra and at present is the priest in charge of St Jude Church, Malad East. He is also the Director of the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum and is the co-ordinator of the Committee for the Promotion and Preservation of the Artistic and Historic Patrimony of the Church.