Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Letting Christ Take Care of Us

A reflection on the Gospel reading (Jn 6:1-15) for April 4, 2008 by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.

The Gospel is so much about Christ taking care of us. Andrew has a gift: "Lord, there's five loaves and a fish." (cf. Jn 6:9) He brings it to Christ and allows Christ to take care of the multitudes. I relate this Gospel to Chapter 54 of the Holy Rule (on whether a monk is to receive letters or presents) which says: "On no account shall it be lawful for a monk either to give or to receive without the permission of his abbot, letters, presents, or any little gifts whatsoever... And if anything is sent to him even by his parents let him not presume to receive it unless it shall have first been shown to the abbot." It's the abbot's duty to take care of the community. Christ sends the gifts and tells the abbot: "Distribute them accordingly."

If we don't follow that rule, one could say to us: "You took the bread you offered Jesus out of His hands and fed only yourself, leaving the multitude, the community, hungry, and you yourself empty since it came not from Christ and therefore is not the bread of life." You will not have life within you. This attitude of independence and private ownership bears the mark of: "I will not serve. I am my own master. I will take care of myself. I will decide."

I have to smile when I remember Peter who, when Jesus comes to wash his feet, says: "You're not gonna take care of me; I'm gonna take care of you." And Jesus answers: "If I don't wash your feet you will have no part with me." (Jn 13:8)Then we look at Peter after the Resurrection when Jesus and the apostles are on the Sea of Tiberius. Jesus calls to them: "Bring me a few fish." What does Peter do? He hauls the whole net up to Jesus! (cf. Jn 21:9-12) Jesus doesn't get upset and say "Peter, I said a few." Why? Peter is doing it for the right reasons. He's letting Christ take care of Him.

It is when you take things in your own hands that you find yourself fighting against God.

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