Sunday, July 30, 2017

Met Georges Khodr: Love and Giving

Arabic original here.

Love and Giving

We understand from today's Gospel that the Lord was with the people, He was attentive to them. After He healed their illnesses, He saw that they were hungry and took pity on them and multiplied the bread. Relations between people, in order to be meaningful, must be based on tenderness. It must not only be a relationship of law, so we do not say that these are my boundaries and those are your boundaries, this is might right and that is your right. This language is current among the people of the world, but it is not sufficient. The healing language is the language that comes from the heart and goes to the heart.

Jesus had pity on them, then He took five loaves and two fishes. We notice that the two things that He took were from the people's life. Around the Sea of Tiberias, people ate bread and fish. But the Gospel goes further than this, since bread is taken later on to become Jesus' body and the fish is adopted by the early Christians as a symbol for the Lord, an image of Him because the five letters of the word "fish" in Greek are the first letters of the words in the phrase "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior".

Jesus wanted to prepare them for the fact that He would give them something greater than bread and fish. The Gospel indicates this symbolic meaning when it says, "He blessed, broke and gave," which are the words it uses at the Last Supper, when He gave the disciples His body and blood.

John the Beloved notes in the fourth Gospel, when he presents the miracle that we read about today from the Gospel of Matthew, that it means something beyond the multiplication of bread. For this reason he presents a sermon known as the sermon about the bread that comes down from heaven: not like your fathers who ate and die, but he who eats of this bread will live forever. He then explains to them that He will remain with them and they will remain with Him if they know that He is the one who will redeem mankind and He will leave to His disciples His presence among them in the form of bread and wine.

Here let us pay attention to the fact that Jesus looked up to heaven then gave. A person only gives from heaven. What comes out of one hand is placed in another hand and what comes out of a heart is placed in another heart. But what comes from the heart can be impure. Out of the abundance of the heart the tongue speaks (cf. Luke 6:45). The heart gives purity or it gives corruption. The heart has the entire world within it, its storms, its lusts. Therefore it doesn't mean anything if I say to another person, "I love you with all my heart." I may love him with a self-interested, acquisitive, totalitarian, lustful love. The important thing is that God comes out of our heart, that the Holy Spirit pours out from our heart so that we may love. For this reason it says, "He blessed, then He broke and gave." The important thing is that we give while we are in a state of blessings, in divine grace, in holiness. Any other giving is simply scattering, a whim, or exploitation.

The important thing is not that I remain in people's hearts, since I am passing. The important thing is that they turn to God who gives to them, that they know that they have received the bread through a miracle. The encounter is not between one person and another, the encounter is between God in a person who transmits Him to another person, if he loves him. Material giving is only a symbol, a style, a preparation so that our hearts may be trained for total giving, the giving of love and purity from a heart that has become divine to a heart that we wish to become divine.

Any giving apart from this has no value. For us to give means that we give everything: our attention, our concern, our health, our days and our nights. We give our whole life in imitation of the Teacher or it is not giving.

No comments: