Read 1 Kings 12:26-32,13:33-34, Ps. 106:6-7,19-22, Mark 8:1-10

“Jeroboam said to himself: ‘…If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, the heart of this people will turn again to their master, King Rehoboam of Judah.’” (1 Kings 12:26-27)

Jeroboam’s rise to power was God’s punishment of Solomon for his idolatry. However, after settling down in the office, Jeroboam suddenly becomes insecure. Instead of relying on God, he let his fear get over him. Similarly, Jesus' disciples were panicked when Jesus asked them to feed the crowd. They did not know that Jesus was testing their faith. What do we learn from our readings today?

1. Do Not Be Insecure, Commit Your Fears to God: Jesus wanted to teach his disciples to trust God completely in all circumstances by feeding the multitude. Jeroboam feared that he might lose power to Rehoboam if the people continued going to Jerusalem to pray. In that state of insecurity, Jeroboam did not believe that God (who took him from grass to grace and protected him from being attacked by Rehoboam) could keep the kingdom together. If you are worried about a problem you have already committed to God, it is a sign that, like Jeroboam, you have become insecure. Trust in God.

2. Never Break Your Covenant with God: By turning to idol worship, Jeroboam forgot his agreement with God (during his meeting with Prophet Ahijah): “If you will listen to all that I command you, walk in my ways, and do what is right in my sight by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you, and will build you an enduring house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” (1 Kings 11:38). Are you having a very difficult time? Know that it is just a test. The devil has nothing to offer. Never break your covenant with God. Indulging in sin may seem the only way out, but it only worsens matters.

3. Begin with The Little You Have: Jesus’ disciples wondered: “How can we feed these men with bread here in the desert?” In response, Jesus said: “How many loaves have you?” Jesus’ question changed everything. Instead of asking God to help you locate your helper, you should ask: “What do I have.” Often, we look down on our seven loaves in a bid to gather millions, forgetting that, with gratitude, we can multiply little things. In other words, as St. Paul would say: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). With thanksgiving, Jesus fed four thousand persons with seven loaves and a few small fish. Thanksgiving multiplies things. Eckhart Tolle once said: “If the only prayer you ever said is ‘Thank You’, it will be enough.”

4. Be Compassionate towards the Plight of Others: Jesus says in today’s Gospel passage: “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me three days now and have nothing to eat.” Selfishness is a disease that is ravaging our society today. No one wants to be his brother’s keeper, not even our leaders. You hardly hear anyone ask you if you have eaten. In this miracle, Jesus teaches us the importance of love (showing concern for others). Be Generous, don’t be afraid to share. When we break the little we have for others, it continues to multiply, and we will have an abundance. Twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered from just seven loaves and a few fish. Never waste food. If you have what you need to survive, the rest belongs to those who cannot afford it. People are hungry; there is so much poverty in our land. You don’t have to be a millionaire to share. Even a cup of water can save lives.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, teach me always to be grateful and to tap into the power of giving thanks. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Scholastica, Virgin. Bible Study: 1 Kings 12:26-32, 13:33-34, Ps. 106:6-7, 19- 22, Mark 8:1-10).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu