Changing your Outlook: Reflections on the Sunday Gospel (John 6:1-15) by Father Steven LaBaire

father steven labaireI am pleased to present this guest post from Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.

In preparation for mass this Sunday:

This morning the U.S. Surgeon General was interviewed on the radio. Not surprisingly, he was talking about medicine and health.

He said, “People tend to think that healthy people are happier people… That might be true.”

“But,” he added, “ so much science and research is pointing to the fact that happy people are healthier people.

People who choose to be happy, end up being healthier overall. So it works the other way around. Choose happiness first and health follows. “

Riccardo Cuppini Happiness, Flickr Creative Commons
Riccardo Cuppini Happiness, Flickr Creative Commons

That’s an interesting way of looking at it: Happiness is a choice we make. It isn’t something that just suddenly “happens.” A person’s chosen outlook can often change the course and outcome of things.

That goes to the heart of this week’s gospel: Jesus feeding an immense crowd of people with very few resources, some bread and a few fish.

Some argue that Jesus simply got  everyone in the crowd to share what they brought with them. Who would bother to leave home and travel in the wilderness without food in the first century? If people saw Jesus and his disciples sharing a few loaves and fishes with others and by that were inspired to share what they had brought themselves, isn’t that miracle enough? Good point.

On the other hand, if humans can fly to the moon and defy the laws of gravity, why couldn’t God defy the laws of nature and “miraculously” multiply loaves to feed a huge crowd in order to teach a lesson about how we ought to live? Can’t God do more than our minds can imagine? That’s a good point too.

Either way, there is a lesson here about life: God begins to work in us when we focus on what we have rather than what we lack.

BK Gratitude changes the way we look at the world, Flickr Creative Commons
BK Gratitude changes the way we look at the world, Flickr Creative Commons

Start your day, start your next big project  focusing on what you have been given, blessed with.

Focusing on what you lack, on what you don’t have will leave you disappointed and afraid.

Jesus got people to be grateful and use what they had. He dared them to trust that what had would go much further than they imagined.

And somehow,  they ended up dealing with the challenge at hand: everybody got fed.

Outlook can change a lot. Jesus knew that.

Our way of looking at the day can leave us feeling happy or starving.

You choose.

I choose.

We all choose.

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