THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2015
LOOKING TO JESUS
Today’s reading from Isaiah is about the celebration
of the Lord’s banquet in Zion. It is a prophecy about
the ultimate expression of our salvation, to be with the Lord
forever in heaven.
“On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for
all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy,
rich food and pure, choice wines. On this mountain he shall
destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is
woven over all nations. He will destroy death forever. The
Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach
of his people he will remove from the whole earth; for the
Lord has spoken.” (Is 25:6-8).
That will be then. But how about now? Most people are poor
and not only have no rich food and choice wines but many have
hardly any food at all. The whole world is under the veil
of darkness and evil imposed by the enemy. There is death
everywhere, from the millions aborted to those killed in armed
conflicts and crimes to those devastated by natural calamities
and unnatural lifestyles (giving rise to HIV/AIDS and STDs).
We are in a valley of tears. We are a people under reproach.
about now? Well, in his time Jesus ministered to those in
desperate need, also “up on the mountain” (Mt
15:29). “Great crowds came to him, having with them
the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others.
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.” (Mt
Jesus not only healed them of their physical infirmities,
but more importantly, he preached the gospel and healed their
souls. Social action without spiritual conversion is woefully
inadequate to meet the needs of humankind. After all, it is
not just about liberation in this life, but the ultimate liberation
also is not just concerned about extraordinary physical infirmities,
but also about the ordinary bodily needs of people as they
go from day to day. He wants to provide for their needs. “My
heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been
with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.”
(Mt 15:32a). Jesus is not only concerned about providing food
for the soul, but also about food for the body. “I do
not want to send them away hungry” (Mt 15:32b).
how can the many who are in need be provided for? “The
disciples said to him, ‘Where could we ever get enough
bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?’”
(Mt 15:33). Where could we ever get enough food in the world
to feed all those who are hungry? Well, there is enough food
in the world, but the problem is selfishness and a lack of
sharing. The first Christian community after Pentecost shared,
with the result that there was no one in need.
who will provide? God provides. God already provided, in the
bountiful world we live in, and in the knowledge He gives
man with which to make use of and build on such bounty. As
such, as God’s stewards and instruments, we are to provide.
We are the ones to minister to the poor.
First, we are to look to what we have and we are to share
that. “Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves do
you have?’ ‘Seven,’ they replied, ‘and
a few fish.’” (Mt 15:34). Second, we are to look
to God to multiply our resources. We are, again, not just
to look to do social work, but inherent in such work is the
spiritual dimension. This is God’s work, and not just
man’s. “Then he took the seven loaves and the
fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves” (Mt 15:36a). God
will provide as we turn to Him in our need. Third, we are
to allow God to use us as His instruments in His care for
the poor. Jesus “gave them to the disciples, who in
turn gave them to the crowds.” (Mt 15:36b). God’s
mercy is upon the poor, He hears their cry, He will attend
to their needs, but He uses us to act on His behalf.
happens when God and His human instruments become one in ministering
to the poor? “They all ate and were satisfied.”
(Mt 15:37a). There will be no one who is hungry, and there
will be no one in need. But there is more.
Love and caring generates more love and caring. Generosity
breeds generosity. Those who are cared for become carers for
others. The poor evolve from being just objects of charity
to becoming subjects in the work with other poor. This is
the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and its aftermath.
“They picked up the fragments left overseven baskets
full.” (Mt 15:37b).
Is this not what salvation is all about? Has not God, from
creation, provided richly for His creatures? Has not God sent
us His Son to bring us salvation? Has not God desired to provide
bountifully for His people? “The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.” (Ps 23:1). God will provide
for our food and drink. “In green pastures he makes
me lie down; to still waters he leads me” (Ps 23:2).
God will provide for our spiritual nourishment; “he
restores my soul.” (Ps 23:3a).
provides for the here and now, and will provide for the hereafter.
Our good and merciful God earnestly desires to provide for
us, now and forever. “Indeed, goodness and mercy will
pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house
of the Lord for endless days.” (Ps 23:6).
God’s salvation is about the soul and also the body.
It is about total human liberation. We just need to go up
the mountain to listen to Jesus and be ministered to by him.
We just need to strive to go up to Mount Zion, the city of
the living God. “For the hand of the Lord will rest
on this mountain” (Is 25:10a).
need to look to Jesus and accept him as Savior and Lord. “Indeed,
this is our God; we looked to him, and he saved us! This is
the Lord to whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that
he has saved us!” (Is 25:9).
we look to Jesus, we also look to the poor. Jesus cares for
the poor. Jesus identifies with the poor. What we do to the
least of our brethren we do to Jesus.