5th Week in Ordinary Time (Year A) : Saturday 11th February 2023

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Our Lady of Lourdes

5th Week in Ordinary Time (Year A) : Saturday 11th February 2023

Gen. 3:9-24; Ps. 89:2-6,12-13;
Mk. 8:1-10 (Ps. Wk. I)

The first reading (Genesis 3:9-24) tellingly reminds us of our fallen nature – the realisation of our own “nakedness” before God and the existential shame we have brought upon ourselves. This shame is deep. This shame of nakedness isolates and deprives us of our closeness with God. Left to ourselves, the result is disobedience, betrayal, blaming, scapegoating and futility. But God has not given up on us. The mercy of God will not allow us to remain naked.

The Gospel for today gives a deeper understanding of the mercy of God in Jesus. We have the second of two multiplication stories found in Mark. The first, with 5,000 people (cf. Mark 6:34-44), is in a predominantly Jewish area, while this one, with 4,000 people, is mainly Gentile territory. Jesus is reaching out to both groups. The people have nothing to eat and are hungry. The meaning is both physical and spiritual. In both accounts, Jesus is filled with compassion for the needy. “I feel compassion for all these people… If I send them off hungry, they will collapse on the way… Some have come to a great distance.”

It is the same today. It is our task to feed the hungry – both physically and spiritually. And there will be leftover – a sign of God’s abundant mercy. His mercy is for all to receive.

The shame of nakedness is removed, and we will be clothed not with the skins of animals but with God’s garment of mercy and righteousness.

Lord, You have been our refuge from one generation to the next. Our Lady of Lourdes, you who remind us of the mercy of God, pray for us!

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