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Making a difference

The story is told about a tough-talking farmer who came home late. When asked why, his response: “On my way home, a holy minister hitched a ride with me, and throughout the trip, my mules were confused and did not understand a word I said.”

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 14, 13-21), we hear how the presence of Jesus made a difference, and changed a difficult situation. He did not only make a miracle happen. He made people realize that they themselves can help make miracles happen.

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“Too many people are waiting for God to do something for them, rather than with them” (Ralph W. Sockman). We are all looking for an end to this difficult period of our history because of the pandemic. The first thing to remember is that this is not a period. It’s just a comma in our history. The second thing to remember is that God is with us, but we, too, have to do our part. Let us all make a difference, and be agents of change. How?

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PRAYER. Jesus spent much time with His Father to seek guidance, strength, consolation, and interceded for the people often in a “deserted place.” People who pray make a difference. It is because of the many unknown and unnoticed people that pray who, in fact, help make miracles happen every day. And people who pray earnestly become different themselves. They become living miracles. Question: Am I really listening to God? Am I praying for others generously?

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SACRIFICE. Jesus sacrificed His rest and quiet time to respond to the needs of the vast crowd. People who sacrifice make a difference. Think of the frontliners who risk life and limb so that others may live. Think of people who brave the streets to earn money for their families. Question: What have I sacrificed, what have I given up in solidarity with the so many suffering people around?

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SERVICE. Jesus moved with pity for the crowd, ministered to them, and healed the sick until evening. He must have been exhausted and tired, exposed to all kinds of diseases, but He chose to serve on. Question: Do I go beyond my comfort zone to serve others? Have I become too comfortable to the point of being unavailable and unreachable? People who truly serve other people do make a difference.

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SHARING. Jesus could have done an instant miracle of feeding the crowd, but he shared this miracle with His disciples. He wanted to empower them, and teach them shared responsibility, teamwork, and humility. He evoked discipline and generosity from the people themselves. He taught people to participate, get involved, and respond to each other’s needs. Question: Have I held back in sharing my time, talents, and treasures because of selfishness? Do I play the game of blaming and finger-pointing?

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SERENITY. Jesus was disturbed from His rest, worked all day for others, fed a vast crowd in a deserted place, and yet He remained calm and serene. Serene people make a difference. Loud and aggressive people just make waves. That’s all. In these very difficult times, it is the quiet and serene people who inspire us to have hope which we need so much, while the “wise” take advantage of the pandemic to steal, and make money from the suffering people. Question: Did I use this pandemic situation to really reach out and help others, or to push my personal agenda and ambitions?

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Think about this: “When the time is ripe, I, the Lord, will make it happen” (Is. 60, 22).

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind us that the less we are selfish, the more we make a difference. Amen.

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TAGS: Gospel, Jerry M. Orbos, Moments
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