18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Homily)
Ever since, I was assigned to the Church of St Joseph, one of the ministries that I am always fascinated by is the Parish Integral of Human Development (PIHD). Under this PIHD umbrella, we have few sub-ministries and one of them is Ministry of the Poor. In these six years, we have reached out to the needs of poor families, especially to assist them meet the basic provision like groceries, twice in a month, household items and other necessities. Besides that, we have meaningfully and successfully carried out various projects and events, celebrating as a parish family with the poor. Most of these families reside around our vicinity, and what did we do? We distributed many things like school uniform and celebrated the World Day of the Poor and Parish Family Day.
The successful-ness of the work is because we have a group of effective, efficient, highly motivated and inspired leaders and parishioners in their outreaches to these families. They have taken the great task fully in their hands and stepped forward in their outreach. The key word here is “having the heart of compassion”. I strongly believe that they have this heart from none other than – our Lord, Jesus Christ! This heart of compassion must have moved our team to get closer and to meet the need of the poor families, eye to eye.
In today’s Gospel (Matt 13: 14-21), Jesus fed the five thousand people. Jesus was moved with compassion once He saw the hungry crowd. His humble heart led Him to perform the miracle of multiplication of the five loaves and two fish.
Compassion refers to the “inner part” of our body that arises to a strong inner feeling or desire, to reach out to someone who is suffering with the goal to relieve that suffering. When we feel compassionate towards someone, then we tend to enter into the person’s life empathetically, and with all we can – help that person out.
Here, Jesus heard and listened to the need of the huge crowd and He responded to their needs as how we as leaders and parishioners, have reached out to the needy with compassionate heart through our outreach to the poor. Jesus realised the needs are so great for the poor. We ourselves have seen and heard of the hunger of the poor, and hopefully – we have brought some hope into their lives. We shall continue to carry out our mission of hope to the poor.
God is asking us to be a part of His plan by being compassionate towards the poor. We need to cultivate this spirit of compassion in reaching out or giving something in order to meet the physical or spiritual needs of our neighbours, as well. When we take this challenge as individuals or communities by bringing forward what we have, it doesn’t matter how small it would be, we can bring happiness in the life of others. As we take the opportunity to love and serve our neighbours, we are fulfilling the Commandments, “You shall love neighbour as yourself.”
By being kind, compassion and love towards the need of others or doing something for others is to bring the love of Christ and to make the difference in the life of our brothers and sister. God of providence provides our need and in return we need to take care of others. As leaders and as Christians we should act with kindness and care deeply for the needs of others and in return God will take care of our needs. In the Second reading, St Paul’s letter to the Romans reminds us, “with God on our side, who can be against us?” With God is on side, nothing can separate us, or take away or lessen His love as we show our love for those who are in need.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy