“… live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”Ephesians 4:1-6
Did you play freeze tag when you were younger?
I remember playing this game with all my cousins and siblings, no cares in the world. We would go out to an open space, some lucky soul was “IT” and the rest of us ran like crazy. When someone was tagged by the person that was “it”, they would be frozen. The only way they could be unfrozen was if someone crawled under their legs. Thankfully we were all fairly small and flexible to master the game. If I played today, my poor teammates just may have to stay frozen as I’m not sure I could crawl under their legs without remaining on the ground.
It was an innocent, fun game that required lots of collaboration and team work.
Is this not what we are also called today as the body of Christ, the Church? To collaborate, work as a team to build the Kingdom of God, to help each other live eternally – UNFREEZE each other?
In today’s second reading from Ephesians 4, St Paul reminds us of our baptism. Through our baptism, we are called to aid every one God places in our path. To feed them both physically and spiritually. To share the blessings, the gifts and talents we have been given. For all that we are and all that we have is not ours alone but a gift from the Father who is “over all, and through all and in all.”
In today’s gospel from John 6:1-15, we read about Jesus feeding the multitude. We visualize this as a physical feast created from five barley loaves and two fish that feeds thousands of people with food left over. What if the greater feast is the spiritual feast? These people showed up. Why did they show up? They showed up because they heard of Jesus. Saw the signs he performed. We have many brothers and sisters who have “fallen asleep,” who are “frozen.” What are we being called to do today? What are we being sent out as Baptized Christians?
To share the Good News. To reveal to others the signs Jesus performs in our own lives. To bring them to the table so they can be fed spiritually.
I attended daily Mass a few days ago, and the homily was on the parable of the sower. It ended with “keep listening, keep speaking, keep guiding, have patience and the harvest will come.” I thought that was particularly powerful in our lives when we hear God calling us to step out and fulfill our baptismal promises.
You may say “I’ve shared but they just won’t listen.” “I’ve tried to talk to them but they continue on the path they are on.”
Our world is a world of instant gratification. We want to see the results today. We want the path to lead us straight to our task and see the results of our labor. God wants us to listen attentively. He wants us to speak with a voice of truth with love and compassion. And He wants us to guide others to reconcile with Him. But it doesn’t happen overnight. It is something that takes time and patience. And sometimes the road appears to be a dead end or a fork in the road. But He still calls us to “preserve the unity of the spirit” in humility, gentleness, love and patience.
My sisters and brothers, as Baptized Christians, it is our obligation to feed the children of God both physically and spiritually. Those we encounter are the multitude. Our gifts and talents given us to share Christ’s love and work are the five loaves of barley and the two fish. We are called to feed those around us.
Will you feed your brothers and sisters with the gifts you have been given? You are Christ’s hands and feet, a member of the one body united in spirit.
“What have I done with my baptism and confirmation? Is Christ really at the center of my life? Do I have time for prayer in my life? Do I live my life as a vocation and mission?”Pope John Paul II
Lord, I ask you to give me ears to listen, the voice to speak, the wisdom to guide and the patience. For you are the vine and we are the branches. May these branches bear fruit in accordance with Your will. Amen