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Monday, August 1, 2016

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St. Alphonsus Liguori

Jeremiah 28:1-17
Psalm 119:29, 43, 79, 80, 95, 102
Matthew 14:13-21

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stretching exercises

"Jesus said to them: 'There is no need for them to disperse. Give them something to eat yourselves.' " —Matthew 14:16

A large crowd, a deserted place, and a shortage of food — Jesus' disciples recognize that a problem is developing. In fact, they have even worked out a reasonable solution (Mt 14:15). They want Jesus to fix the problem according to their plan. But Jesus has a different approach. He says, "Give them something to eat yourselves" (Mt 14:16). Jesus wants His disciples to fix the problem according to His plan.

Jesus' plan was to multiply loaves and fish to feed the hungry crowd. Before He would stretch the food, however, He wanted to stretch His disciples (see Jn 6:6). Jesus increases faith by stretching His followers to be larger vessels able to contain more faith. However, you don't have to wait for a problem to develop before your faith is increased. You can work with Jesus in advance by:

  1. repenting of sins so that you may be a larger, "distinguished vessel" (2 Tm 2:21),
  2. daily reading of "that gracious word of His which can enlarge you" (Acts 20:32), and
  3. frequent reception of the Eucharist.

When Mary said "Yes" to God's plan, her womb was stretched as the Infant Jesus grew within her. Even more, her subsequent daily life with Jesus constantly stretched her. As we receive Jesus in reconciliation, word, and Eucharist, we carry His body within us, and He will stretch us. Open yourself to Jesus, and He will multiply your faith.

Prayer:  Jesus, stretch me any way You choose so that I may increase in faith (see Lk 17:5).

Promise:  "All those present ate their fill. The fragments remaining, when gathered up, filled twelve baskets." —Mt 14:20

Praise:  St. Alphonsus, suffering himself from severe, crippling rheumatism, founded his congregation for "the most abandoned."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 23, 2016

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