Pachomius answered him, "The Church’s rule is that we should only join together for two days, so that we might still have the strength to accomplish without fainting the things we are commanded to do, namely, unceasing prayer, vigils, reciting of God’s law, and our manual labour about which we have orders in the Holy Scriptures and which ought to permit us to hold out our hands to the poor. "
Reading: John 21:4-13
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
I love cooking. It’s more than a necessity, it’s relaxation and when cooking for others an act of service. One of the best parts of cooking is to choose the ingredients from amongst the massive varieties available in even the humblest supermarket. Yet several times a week I watch people coming to our FoodBank for whom simple pasta, tinned vegetables and meat will temporarily meet their hunger. Assuming, of course, that they have money to pay for the electricity or gas by which to cook. When I was more involved in the project I often found myself saying to our clients "Take plenty! We want you to be blessed".
St. Benedict insisted that the needy not only be fed but also treated with an extra measure of loving-kindness. "Great care and concern are to be shown in receiving poor people and pilgrims, because in them more particularly Christ is received." Not only do the poor represent an opportunity to serve Christ ("For I was hungry and you gave me food"), but they also teach us how to love – that is, without thought of gratitude, reward, or response, though often these are forthcoming.
The kind of love that Jesus modelled is impossible without a willingness to lay aside our own needs and to desire to serve another. Such an internal shift does not come easily or naturally.
What are the stories of the people who will come to the FoodBank today? Could they be me?
Thank you, God, for the opportunity to serve Christ by serving others.