Today in Catholic History:
† 1012 – Martyrdom of St. Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 954),
in Greenwich, London.
† 1054 – Death of Pope Leo IX (b. 1002)
† 1840 – Death of Jean-Jacques Lartigue, Roman catholic bishop of Montreal (b. 1777)
† 1909 – Joan of Arc receives beatification.
† 2005 – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave.
† Feast day of the following saints in the Roman Catholic Church: Saint Emma, George of Antioch, Expeditus, Alphege, Primrose Day (England),”Dia do Índio” (Brazil), King Mswati III’s birthday (Swaziland)
Today’s reflection is about the crowds finding Jesus in Capernaum.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“To save our souls we must live according to the maxims of the Gospel, and not according to those of the world” ~ St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori†
The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” (NAB John 6:22-27)
This is the first part, or an introduction, for a discourse on the bread of life as being a replacement of the manna. The rest of John, Chapter 6, is this discourse, ending with the reaction of the disciples, and Peter’s confession.
A large crowd from the “fishes and loaves feeding miracle” saw that a boat had left the area without Jesus: only His disciples were on board. When more people from Tiberias arrived at the place of the miracle (thinking it might have been a “fishy” story), they cannot find Jesus. They know the boat with the disciples had left for Capernaum, so they followed in their boats. They wanted to witness this “miracle maker” in their midst: they wanted more bread.
This is how the crowd gets to Capernaum. I’m sure there was a mysterious attitude of folly and adventure among these “groupies” of biblical times. These verses also infer a mysterious crossing by Jesus by emphasizing Jesus not being in the ONE boat that had left earlier.
When Jesus is found, the crowd calls Him “Rabbi;” a term meaning teacher. He taught them in Tiberias, and filled them with a bread of life. Now they want His lessons (and more food) in Capernaum, across the Sea of Galilee. Asked when He came to Capernaum, Jesus simply bypassed the question. They probably would not have believed Him if He told them. This question was irreverent to Him.
Jesus’ lessons of faith though are appropriate for all lands, nations, and people. The Catholic Church is literally a “universal” Church, started by Jesus, and with a continuous succession from Jesus and Apostles, through the present Magisterium.
I’m not sure how many “YO Moments” Jesus had, but it seems like He says something special in every gospel reading this week. His current “YO! Listen to me!” moment had to do with the people coming to Him, not because they believed in Him, but because they wanted more, without giving back: selfishness of maximum proportions.
They saw the signs, but were concerned over the materialistic elements of life. Jesus said to not work for temporal gifts, but for what sustains you for eternity: a belief in Jesus as the divine Son of God. Jesus IS the living bread that will sustain any that chooses to come to Him.
Receiving the gift of Jesus is a faith that He is the “One” from God. These verses do not necessarily refer to the bread of the Eucharist, but to Jesus’ word of revelation, “on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” Whoever accepts his testimony sets his seal on the truthfulness of God. And it was God who testifies to Jesus’ role.
“Jesus, I will go to the ends of the earth for you. Please be with me always. I want you to dwell in my heart, soul, brain, mouth, and hands. Please Lord, show me the way. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Alphege
Archbishop and “the First Martyr of Canterbury.” He was born in 953 and became a monk in the Deerhurst Monastery in Gloucester, England, asking after a few years to become a hermit. He received permission for this vocation and retired to a small hut near Somerset, England. In 984 Alphege assumed the role of abbot of the abbey of Bath, founded by St. Dunstan and by his own efforts. Many of his disciples from Somerset joined him at Bath. In that same year, Alphege succeeded Ethelwold as bishop of Winchester. He served there for two decades, famed for his care of the poor and for his own austere life. King Aethelred the Unready used his abilities in 994, sending him to mediate with invading Danes. The Danish chieftain Anlaf converted to Christianity as a result of his meetings with Alphege, although he and the other chief, Swein, demanded tribute from the Anglo-Saxons of the region. Anlaf vowed never to lead his troops against Britain again. In 1005 Alphege became the successor to Aleric as the archbishop of Canterbury, receiving the pallium in Rome from Pope John XVIII. He returned to England in time to be captured by the Danes pillaging the southern regions. The Danes besieged Canterbury and took Alphege captive. The ransom for his release was about three thousand pounds and went unpaid. Alphege refused to give the Danes that much, an act which infuriated them. He was hit with an ax and then beaten to death. Revered as a martyr, Alphege’s remains were placed in St. Paul’s Church in London. The body, moved to Canterbury in 1023, was discovered to be incorrupt in 1105. Relics of St. Alphege are also in Bath, Glastonbury, Ramsey, Reading, Durham, Yorkminster and in Westminster Abbey. His emblem is an ax, and he is depicted in his pontifical vestments or as a shepherd defending his flock.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #19:
Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon. Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others. Since they are immersed in the resurrection of Christ, which gives true meaning to Sister Death, let them serenely tend toward the ultimate encounter with the Father.