miracle

It’s a Great Catch

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What’s for breakfast?

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This week’s Gospel is one of my favorite stories about Jesus in the Bible.  One reason is obvious.  Jesus rose from the dead and appears to the Apostles and disciples numerous times proving that he definitely has risen.

Talking to kids and teens at classes this week, I talked about what this story says to me about not only Jesus, but myself.  What does God want us to know about him?

As I began the story with Peter and the disciples in the boat approaching shore, a couple of things came to mind that I may not have thought about before!

A night of exhaustion and discouragement for disciples that are reeling from the loss of their rabbi leads to an extraordinary event.  A man they don’t recognize who seems to taunt them by highlighting their failure to catch any fish asks them if they caught anything to eat.  Then he says, “Throw your net over the right side of the boat.”

I asked the kids and teens if they thought fish slept.  Have they ever gone fishing?  Maybe half had said that they had been fishing.  I recalled all of the times that I fished with my Dad and brother who are quite expert and experienced with this pastime.  I have eaten all kinds of caught fish that have been cleaned and descaled.  Yuck! Many times, I would hear stories of how the fish were congregating in just a few areas on the lake.  A good fisherman knows where those prime spots are.

Of course, fish don’t sleep.  The kids thought that idea was funny.  Peter and his friends had worked all night by the light of the moon.  This was their job, their livelihood.  How discouraging and exhausting it must have been to arrive at shore with nothing to show for it!

I could identify with the experience of failure.  And there was nothing for breakfast.  They didn’t catch anything.  They would go home hungry.

The man on the shore says to throw your net over the right side.  Did they believe him?  How many times have I known that God is asking me to keep going and to try again?  So they did it.  They tried another time.  I wondered aloud why Jesus said to put the net over the right side.  Had they been fishing on the left side?  Why?  I asked the teens if they realized that ‘right’ has two meanings.  It could mean the direction or correct.  Had they been fishing on the wrong side?  Was the right side the right way to fish?  Was Jesus telling us that we have tried over and over again to do it our way?  Maybe we should try it his way now.  The Priest at our Family Mass talked about how we need to follow God’s will.

Jesus promises that if we throw out our ‘net’ like he asks, we may find a net that’s overflowing.  As the kids guessed at what happens next, they thought the net would break.  The net doesn’t tear or break under the weight of 153 large fish.   We often think we won’t be able to do it.  We think that our net will break or we don’t have the best ‘net’ for the task.  God promises to strengthen our net.  If we trust him, he will help us.

So Peter and the disciples find out that if they try again, their efforts will pay off.  They recognize Jesus in this miracle.  He then offers to make them breakfast!

So as I ended our reflection, I asked the kids to give me three things they learned from this story, I explained why I thought the breakfast was the best part.

Jesus is waiting on shore to make you breakfast.  I asked about the meal that he wants to give us now.  Among their guesses was the revelation of the Eucharist that we receive during the Mass.  I pointed to the altar table.  We are invited to this table for a meal that Jesus has prepared for us.  Are we coming to the table?  Jesus gives us himself in this extraordinary bread at every Mass.  He’s hoping that after our long journey out in the world doing the things we need to do. that he asks us to do, we will get the nourishment that we need.

Why would we miss it?

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Stay tuned for more………

Got bread? This bread is priceless!

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In Exodus, the Lord rains down bread and then even sends quail.  God gives us our daily bread, just what we need and when we need it.  The Readings this week are all about bread and one of the “I Am” statements in John 6.  Do you know Jesus?

Jesus says, “What kind of signs to do you need?”  What will it take for you to believe?

Euch-EucharistSymbolsJesus says, “Remember how God gave you manna in the desert?”  How can you get this bread?  Jesus gives the answer when He says, “I Am the Bread of Life.”  He gives us Himself in the Eucharist now.  Stay tuned to find out what he means!  The next few weeks’ Sunday Readings explain more!

Maybe you have seen a few miracles in your life or in the life of someone around you.  Miracles come in all shapes and sizes.  Are you looking?  Are you helping God to perform a miracle in someone’s life today like the boy in last week’s readings?

Jesus says that you’ve seen the signs.  Now what?  St. Paul tells the Ephesians that you should change the way you live.  Put on your new self.  Your old way of thinking doesn’t work anymore.  Now that you have learned about Jesus, you know the truth.  This requires thinking like God thinks, doing the right thing and living in the truth.  So, what do you think?  Will it change how you live?  Got bread?  This bread is priceless.  Go to Mass.  Receive the Eucharist.  It will change your life.

Sunday Readings for August 2, 2015

Who me? I got this!

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As we continue our journey from John’s point of view in Chapter 6, Jesus creates another miracle!

Jesus feeds everyone in John 6.  Did you put yourself in the story?  Are you Philip?  How will you pay for all that food?

Or, are you Andrew?  Andrew knew a boy that had 5 loaves and 2 fishes but believes it’s not enough.  Over and over I get the same message in Scripture.  Look.  Do I see what is going on around me?  We hear a lot about helping others and feeding the poor.  Take another look at this Scripture.  The Apostles need help.  Jesus asks them to find the food.  How can I help?  What can I do?  You see, I need help, too.  What does God want me to do?  How often do I think, “It’s not enough.”  Or worse, “I am not enough.”  I don’t have what it takes.  What can I do?  I am nobody.  Think beyond the food idea.  Maybe someone around me needs an encouraging word.  I wish I had a million dollars or could solve world hunger.  That problem is too big for me to solve.  There are so many smaller needs I could solve for my family and friends.  I could smile at a stranger.  I could help the person in the grocery store find the item they are looking for.  That has actually happened to me.  It’s amazing what can happen when you look friendly.  Give it a try!

This boy offers all that he has and Jesus transforms his meager provision of food into something much greater.  Are you the boy who offers all that he has?  Even our small gifts or talents can be used by God to change the world.  Being a person who smiles is a talent that we can all obtain.  What can you do this week to make a difference in someone’s life?  Are you waiting for a miracle?  Maybe, God is waiting for you to help Him make another miracle happen.  Yes, you!

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Readings for Sunday 7-26-15