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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fr. Voigt, "Barley loaves and fishes"

Fr. Voigt, "Barley loaves and fishes"
Sunday Reflection

He would heal and they would follow Him for days at a time.  In fact they had not eaten now for three days and Jesus who changed water into wine now turns to Philip and asks where they might buy bread for the people to eat.  Impossible was the answer of dear Philip.  But Andrew had a little boy with five barley loaves and two fish.  What is this among five thousand men?


This, in fact, is the reality we are living today.  Recall that God creates with order hence the angels are above man and man is above irrational creatures and so on.  The little boy represents the Jewish nation who received the five barley loaves which symbolize the Pentateuch (first five books of the old testament).


Now these books presents the relationship of God with mankind and establish His patterns.  One who is young cannot break the barley loaf crust because it is unusually hard.  Nor can we simple people open the word of God with ease.  There is a struggle to come to break the bread and that struggle began with the Lord's movement to Jerusalem.  The bread would be broken upon the knife of the Cross and all that was contained in the old would be revealed by the new.  Recently, since Vatican II, the students of theology have lost the sense of history and only those scholars of our day are studied.  The result is we lost the insights of the Fathers of the Church who teach us that these barley loaves contain levels of meaning that no man could ever penetrate.  Like a rose in bloom the Word of God continues to open itself anew to the student who prays and seeks.  


So the little boy did not understand the five loaves nor the two fish which represent the law and the prophets.  On that mount Jesus is the new Moses and gives the people a new law and a new manna.  Through Him all the old is brought to fulfillment.  Now the multitude must come to know how to approach the loaves that they are about to eat.  Sit on the grass for the grass is representative of man.  Man must humble himself like the grass which is here today and gone tomorrow.  Do not take yourself too seriously.  Instead observe the Son of God Who before this crowd looks up to the Father and prays and blesses the meal.  Now the multiplication of the elements and the abundance of the fragments is recorded.  Twelve baskets represent the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles who will now go out and break the barley loaves with the whole world.  


These loaves require a relationship with the Son of God which has been seriously crippled in our day.  The majority of theologians have become Protestant in their approach to the Bread of Life.  Communion in the hand robs the soul of the reverence that is necessary to proclaim that this truly is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.  Seminarians no longer make visits, exposition is an act of the past, interpretation is determined by feelings and the devil is denied on all counts.  In fact, there is no hell so why should the Son of God come to this immaculately conceived world of ours.  Theologically and spiritually we are in a mess because it takes silence and prayer to break the barley loaves open.
Lent is that time given by the Church; a tithing of our year (1/10th); a sacrificial time to prepare us to give alms to the needy.  How we need to break the pride of our day with the realization that man's days are like grass.  


The loaves and the fish bring us to the moment of Laetare Sunday that is most important.  It is a Sunday filled with the joy of anticipation of the gift of the Bread of Life.  Within a few short weeks we will be remembering the ordination of the priestly apostles, the institution of Christ's Body and Blood and the payment on the Cross for the sins of the world.  Rejoice, brothers and sisters, enter into the silent world of your soul and read the Word of God slowly and with the view of the Cross.  In this you will find great nourishment.  Pray the rosary as you read the word and a real spiritual birth will take place in your hearts and soon the sins of the tongue and heart will be crowded out by a new and deeper love for the Truth hidden in the barley loaves.  May God bless you all with the perseverance in all your Lenten practices.


In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,


Fr. Richard Voigt


Health report - daily improving.

Fr Richard Voigt, S D B Sermon 2nd Sunday of lent 2017 - Transfiguration Sunday