How to fast

“When you fast, don’t act like the hypocrites do. They make their faces look ugly and disfigured so that everybody notices that they are fasting. Mark my words, that is the only reward they will get!

When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look good so that no one will know that you are fasting except God, who knows everything. And God who knows your heart and everything that you do, will reward you.”

MT 6:16-18

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Miraculous healings

They reached the other side and landed the boat at Gennesaret. People immediately recognized Jesus when he got out of the boat. They brought everyone who was sick to him, even carrying some on stretchers.

Whether he went into towns, villages, or the countryside, people brought the sick to him. They begged just to be able to touch the fringe of his robe. Everyone who touched it was healed.

MT 14:34-36, MK 6:53-56

Walking on water.

Jesus immediately made his disciples get into the boat and travel ahead of him across the Sea of Galilee, while he sent away the crowd. Jesus went by himself to a mountain to pray. He was there alone when evening came.

From up on the mountain, he was able to see that the boat was in the middle of the sea, far from land. A very windy storm came up and the sea began to get choppy. The boat was being battered by the waves and the disciples were struggling because they were rowing against the wind.

Jesus came walking on the water towards them around three in the morning, and he meant to walk by them. When they saw him they cried out in terror because they thought he was a ghost.

Immediately Jesus spoke to them saying “Have courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.”

MT 14:22-27, MK 6:45-50, JN 6:16-20

Peter called out to him, “Lord if it’s really you, command me to come to you.”

“Come!” Jesus said.

Peter climbed out of the boat and started walking on the water towards Jesus. But he became afraid when he saw the size of the waves and the strength of the wind. He began to sink, and he cried out “Lord save me!”
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught Peter. He was surprised at how little faith Peter had and said “Why did you doubt?”

MT 14:28-31

When they were together on the boat, the wind ceased.

MT 14:32, MK 6:51a

Then everyone there said “You are truly the Son of God!”

MT 14:33

(Yet another Gospel says that)
They were confused and amazed because they had not yet come to understand even the miracle of the loaves. Instead their hearts were hard and they had a hard time believing.

MK 6:51b-52

Feeding the 5000

The apostles came to Jesus and told him about all the teaching that they had done. He had them come away in a boat with him to a remote place to rest for a little bit. They needed to do this because so many people were coming to them that they didn’t even have time to eat. However, many people recognized them as they were leaving and they followed them on foot across the land from all the towns, and got there ahead of them.

Jesus saw a huge crowd as he stepped ashore and he felt compassion for them because they were lost, like sheep without a shepherd. He greeted them, talked to them about the kingdom of God, and healed anyone who was sick.

Late in the day, his disciples came up to him and said “This place is a wilderness and it is already long past suppertime. Make them leave, so they can go find food and a place to stay in the nearby villages, because there’s nothing here.”

“They don’t need to leave” Jesus said. “You give them their supper.” (For he knew what he was going to do.)

Philip answered “Should we go into town and buy 200 denarii worth of bread? It wouldn’t be enough for a crowd this large.”

Then, his disciple Andrew reported that there was a boy in the crowd who had five barley loaves and two fish, but even that wasn’t enough for so many people. About 5000 men, in addition to women and children, were there.

Jesus had his disciples get the people to sit down on the grass in groups of about 50. He took the five loaves and two fish, looked up into heaven, and then he gave thanks. He broke the loaves and fish into pieces and gave them to his disciples to give to the crowd. He kept giving food to the disciples for them to distribute. Everyone ate to their heart’s content.

At the end of the meal he told his disciples “Gather up the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” They were able to fill 12 baskets full of leftovers!

When the people realized the miracle that Jesus had done, they said to themselves “This really is the Messiah who we have been waiting for!”

When Jesus realized that they were about to forcefully take him away to make him king he withdrew by himself to a mountain.

MT 14:13-21, MK 6:30-44, LK 9:10-17, JN 6:1-15

Poem. Preparing to go on retreat.

I’m preparing for silence,
for stillness.
I’m preparing
to not prepare.
I’m readying myself
to be open to the idea
that God
has a better to-do list
than I could ever
make up.

My lists have
chores and groceries,
recycling and letters to write.
They are filled with
the minutia of life.

Get tire pressure checked.
Buy rocks for the garden.
Get cholesterol test results.

God’s list is much shorter.
Rest, and know
that I am.

God says
“Here’s a beautiful lunch I made
for you,
with My hands.”
God says
“Here’s a lovely flower
– come look at it.”
God says
“Let’s paint a picture
right now
with fingerpaints.”

God is the best child,
always wanting to show me
the latest treasure
or discovery.

I, the impatient,
harried parent,
have to put down
my purse,
my iPhone,
my canvas work bag
just to
pick them up
to look at them.

And maybe that is God’s plan.
Distract us
from ourselves
so we can
find ourselves.
Make us put
things
down
so God can
pick us up.