1ST JOHN 4: 11 – 18
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 72: 1-2, 10 – 13 (R.) 11
R/. All nations on earth shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.
O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king’s son your justice,
that he may judge your people in justice,
and your poor in right judgement. R/.
The kings of Tarshish and the islands shall pay him tribute.
The kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts.
Before him all kings shall fall prostrate, all nations shall serve him. R/.
For he shall save the needy when they cry,
the poor, and those who are helpless.
He will have pity on the weak and the needy,
and save the lives of the needy. R/.
Glory to you, O Christ, preached among the nations; glory to you, O Christ, believed on in the world.
[After the five thousand men were satisfied,] Jesus immediately made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were distressed in rowing, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
The Gospel of the Lord
REFLECTION: Reflecting on the Experience of Grace
January 5, 2022
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:45–46)
What were the people thinking as Jesus left them? They had been with Him for a few days without food, Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed them all, they were astounded at the miraculous feeding, and then Jesus left them and went off by Himself to pray. Imagine their thoughts and the conversation that the people would have had at this experience!
Perhaps some would have tried to come up with some rational explanation as to the multiplication of food, others would have believed in a miracle wholeheartedly, and others would have been uncertain about what to think. This is the experience we often have when we encounter the power and grace of God in our lives.
We may not see actual physical miracles every day. In fact, we may never encounter one in this lifetime. But if we are open, we will experience the power of God alive in our lives on a regular basis. Most often it will be subtle and hidden, but at times it will be clear and transforming. The first question is whether or not we have the eyes of faith to see God at work, and the second question is whether or not we let His activity transform us.
As the crowds dispersed, this second question would have been posed to them interiorly by God. They just witnessed the power of God, and now that they had this experience, they were each called to let it transform them. They were called to walk away, savor what happened, believe in it and allow it to sink in.
Reflect, today, upon the presence of God in your life. How has God spoken to you, helped you and been there in your time of need. It’s easy to quickly forget what God does. The goal is to hold on to all that He has done and allow that activity to continue ministering to our hearts. Ponder, this day, His workings of the past so that those acts of love by God may continue to bear fruit in your life today.
Lord, I know that You have been alive and active in my life in countless ways. Help me to hold on to those gifts of grace always. Help me to let Your presence in my life be a continual source of trust in Your perfect plan. And when it appears as if You have left, help me to know that You are always near and always working in my life. Jesus, I trust in You.