Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all reminded that we have to learn to trust in God and in His providence, and not to give in to fear and uncertainty, or else we may end up taking the wrong actions and walking down the wrong path, ending up with sin against God. In our first reading today, this was exemplified by the story of the king of Israel, Jeroboam, while in our Gospel we heard of the account of the miraculous feeding of the four thousand.
In the first reading, king Jeroboam, who was chosen by God to lead the ten tribes of the Israelites in opposition to king Rehoboam of Judah, began to take things into his own hands and disobey God. He feared that the people of Israel, who at that time according to the Law still had to go to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to God, would then be touched and made to return their allegiance and love to the house of David instead of to Jeroboam.
As such, Jeroboam took drastic actions in making for his own kingdom two sites where golden idols were built and put as the focus of worship, and he appointed priests of his own, not in accordance to the Law which stipulated that the priests could only come from the descendants of Aaron and the Levites. And Jeroboam himself offered the sacrifice on the heathen altar he has built for the purpose of the worship of those golden idols.
Through this action, king Jeroboam led the people to sin against God, and the root of his folly was because of his fear and pride, that allowed him to be tempted by Satan to establish a rival worship centre, that did not even worship God but golden idols instead, a mockery of God and a reminder of how the Israelites first sinned at Mount Sinai when they worshipped the golden calf instead of God.
We see here what can happen when we allow ourselves to be swayed by fear and pride, as king Jeroboam was afraid that he would soon lose control over his kingdom and his people would betray him to the rightful kings in Judah, if he allowed them to continue the rightful and legitimate worship of God in Jerusalem. He was likely also too proud to admit that he had to depend or trust in God, and therefore, took matter to his own hands.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, it was this same fear and uncertainty that the disciples of the Lord also faced when they saw the multitudes of people gathered to hear their Lord and Master, as described in our Gospel reading today. The Lord wanted them to have food because many of them had been following Him for days and there were not much food in the area, and neither did those people bring sufficient food with them for sustenance.
The disciples were worried and concerned, fearing that they would not be able to get enough food for the people. In another occasion, the disciples estimated that it would have cost quite a lot of money to get sufficient food to feed all the whole multitudes of people. But the Lord Jesus then showed all of them that they really do not need to be afraid or be fearful, but rather, they must learn to trust in God.
That was when the Lord performed the amazing miracle, breaking merely seven loaves of bread, and yet, the whole multitude of four thousand men and many more women and children were fed until they were all full and satisfied, with plenty of leftovers to spare. He showed all of us that as long as we have faith in Him and trust in Him, He will provide what we truly need, and we have to learn to trust in Him and not in our own often flawed human instincts and judgements.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in today’s readings from the Scripture, let us all reflect on our own lives and discern how we can be more faithful from now on. Let us all deepen our faith and build a stronger and better relationship with our God from now on. And may the Lord be with us always, and may He bless us in our many efforts and works, giving us the strength and courage to be ever faithful in all things in life. Amen.