The Lenten Musings 40
Read: John 6: 1-11
Every day countless of events takes place. Some are noticed, while some go unnoticed. Some news find the pride of place in the news headlines, while some are relegated to the sidelines. Yesterday, an event took place in U. S. Capitol, though reported was a very significant event. President Barack Obama unveiled the statue of Rosa Parks in the U.S. Capitol, in a function that was attended by congressional leaders from both republican and democratic parties. With the unveiling of statue, Rosa Parks will have a permanent place in the U.S. Capitol, just as the news agencies reported an "an unmovable place". Parallel to history in the same way as she was unmoved on December 1, 1955, when she was threatened, abused and yelled by the bus driver to make her get up from the seat, so that a white passenger could sit. She was still unmoved even as she was arrested, but it was this single act that launched civil rights movement in this country. Finally with the rise of civil disobedience movement, in 1956, Supreme Court banned segregation in public transportation. The President and other congressional leaders recalled the legacy that Rosa Parks had left behind. While reminiscing about her, the President replied, "we often spend our lives as if in a fog, accepting injustice, rationalizing inequity-just like the bus driver, and the other passengers. It is people like Rosa Parks who inspires us that there is something that we all can do". Another congressional leader said that her unassuming presence in the form of a statue should inspire people to draw strength from stillness. A woman, unknown at that time of history and time, does a single act of disobedience. An action not done for any publicity, neither done with the intention of getting a rightful place in history, but done with sense of resolute, that things need to change and if that change has to happen it has to happen from me and through me. An ordinary person who inspires us to do extraordinary things so that changes takes place.
Everybody talks about change and wants change, whether it is society or church. As I do ministry here, there are number of youths and other members who complain and tells us that we need to do bring about changes in the way church function or a parish function. But this is often said as if the other person has to change. The focus is not on myself it is on others. What is important if we need to bring the desired change, is that the change and the action starts from us. In John 6, we find the feeding of the five thousand. A wonderful example of how different people look at a human need, with different perceptions and how a young boy felt that even if he was young and unknown he had to do something, to share his mite in fulfilling the needs of others. As we read the biblical account of feeding the five thousand, we find that the immediate need of the people was the need to satisfy their physical hunger, the need for food. Seeing people hungry makes Jesus feels compassionate on them and it is this compassion that forces Jesus to ask his disciples about the ways and means to feed the people. But all of them have excuses. Philip advises Jesus that it is impossible, looking at the need in terms of finance that would be incurred in buying food. That is when, Andrew bring the unknown boy who had five loaves and two fish to the presence of our Lord. I don't know what Andrew would have told him so as to make the young boy to share his lunch with others. But it was this wonderful action of the boy that brought about change, that helped to satisfy the needs of thousands of people. One of the biblical commentators makes a very different observation. He says that when the boy willingly brought his little morsel of food to the presence of the Lord, it is this simple act that suddenly inspired hundreds of others who had also brought food, who may have been unwilling till that time to share food with others is compelled and inspired to share food with others. This is how crowd was fed and twelve baskets of food was collected after everybody ate. In the beginning of the incident in John 6, people have nothing to eat, but in end, you have more food, food in abundance, so much that twelve baskets of food are left over. A simple action of a boy, brings about change and transformation. What our Lord needs from us is whether we could be the tools of change that He wants to bring about in the society. Let the Lord bring about change in us first so that we are able to inspire others to bring about change and transformation. Rosa Parks was an ordinary lady who decided to do an extraordinary thing. Let us also be that ordinary person, who is willing to do extraordinary things for the Lord, so as to inspire others.Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla