17th Sunday – Year B
“One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism”
One Lord who multiplies his graces to us!
(Ep. 4: 1-6; Jn. 6: 1-15)
Despite the division of Christians, St. Paul’s statement remains valid: all our aberrations are incapable of changing the faith which is basically a grace and a gift. They cannot cause further dichotomy. The prayer of the human Jesus has more power than our schisms: “So also may they be one in us: so that the world may believe!” (Jn. 17:21). If the world does not believe or does not believe much or ceased to believe, it is certainly our fault. But, “God is greater than our heart” (1Jn. 3:20). The resurrection of our Lord Jesus can fill us despite our penury, lift us despite our falls and revive us despite the deadly arrows of our sins.
Despite all the “heresies” (a Greek word like the word “schism” means tearing), the Christian faith remains immutable and dynamic at the same time. Despite the imperfections and the shortcomings of some of its faithful and some of its pastors over the period of twenty centuries, the Catholic Church remains one and apostolic and withstands the greatest of all evil which is the division and headlessness, in other words a body without a visible head! The pyramid of Christ, built upon Him, the Divine Rock, and on Simon the son of Jonas, the human rock (cf. Mt. 16:18), was formed at Caesarea Philippi. It continued in Jerusalem, in Caesarea Maritima, in Antioch and finally in Rome. In contrast to the changing empires of this world, it remains firm in its faith in Christ the Lord, solid in its foundation, united and clear in its doctrine and always thankful!
Let us pray that the ecumenical movement will bring the Disciples of Christ closer to each other! Let us try to pray and act with ardor so that the century which has just started proves to be, as John-Paul II the great wished it to be, that “of Christian unity”! A few years ago, the Blessed John-Paul II and his Holiness the ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew 1st prayed together fervently in the Patriarchal basilica of St. Peter in Rome, on 29 June, “so as to see, with their own eyes, the reality of full communion” between the two sister Churches!
The multiplication of bread and fish
How many spiritual commentaries could these pages of St. John or the Synoptic Gospels inspire in us with regard to the miracles of multiplication that they describe with the accuracy of eyewitnesses.
Here, from a point of view of Christian faith and of pastoral theology, let us confine ourselves to denouncing certain rationalism that aims always at depriving the Bible, particularly the New Testament, from all transcendence and all that is supernatural. At times we hear that there has been no such multiplication! The “miracle” did not occur by the supernatural intervention of Jesus! It rather happened by a miracle in its broader sense: the people simply gathered the courage – and the soberness – to share! This is it!
With theories like this, that some assert without batting an eyelash and without possibility of discussion, all texts of the Gospels are distorted, disoriented and practically canceled! The theoreticians of these views (who do not provide proof for their assertions) give in to the subjectivism of rationalism, a subjectivism rather arbitrary and willingly “dictatorial” (as Pope Benedict XVI labels).
Our use of logic and reason as recommended to us by St. Paul (Rom. 12:1 where the apostle of nations recommends “a cult of logic, reasonable and rational” λογικη λατρεια), we confirm beyond the shadow of any doubt that the Word of God almighty, incarnated in Jesus (cf. Jn. 1:1 and 14), in whom, by whom and for whom “all was made” is capable of multiplying the bread and the fish, to heal the sick, to feed the hungry and to revive the dead.
But if an objector does not want to believe in the divinity of Christ, he certainly will not accept the multiplication of the bread.
Let us pray the Lord to multiply His graces in us, starting with the faith that we do not merit but that which we can lose! Lord, increase our faith! (Lk. 17:5). Amen!
Fr. P. Madros