When Sharks Won’t Bite
Read: Proverbs 27:1–10
My children were thrilled, but I felt uneasy. During a vacation, we visited an aquarium where people could pet small sharks kept in a special tank. When I asked the attendant if the creatures ever snapped at fingers, she explained that the sharks had recently been fed and then given extra food. They wouldn’t bite because they weren’t hungry.
What I learned about shark petting makes sense according to a proverb: “One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet” (Proverbs 27:7). Hunger— that sense of inner emptiness—can weaken our discernment as we make decisions. It convinces us that it’s okay to settle for anything that fills us up, even if it causes us to take a bite out of someone.
God wants more for us than a life lived at the mercy of our appetites. He wants us to be filled with Christ’s love so that everything we do flows from the peace and stability He provides. The constant awareness that we’re unconditionally loved gives us confidence. It enables us to be selective as we consider the “sweet” things in life—achievements, possessions, and relationships.
Only a relationship with Jesus gives true satisfaction. May we grasp His incredible love for us so we can be “filled to the measure [with] all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) for our sake—and the sake of others.
What are you most hungry for in life? Why does Jesus fulfill you in a way that nothing else can?
Those who see Jesus as the Bread of never be hungry. Life will A
PPARENTLY today’s culture teaches us to love only those who love us, like only those who like us, to some point to like only those who look like us or fall under our standards and disregard those we consider less than us. And what is worse is when our culture promotes violence and fear.
Today you have to be ‘useful’ to be valuable. We measure others like the way we measure things. We seem to love people like the way we love things. Love has totally lost its meaning.
In one of the gospel stories in the bible Jesus made a “sermon on the plain.” In the story, Jesus challenges us to love differently from the way we normally love. From loving differently, Jesus invites us to act differently. Love is a verb. Love is revolutionary and turns everything inside out. He is asking his disciples to do what is considered impossible and not the normal way to act. Jesus is inviting you to do the same. This is the norm for Jesus.
Love your enemies! Jesus calls us to a demanding and challenging task - to love your enemies, not to curse them, to present the other cheek to anyone who slaps you on one cheek, and do not protest or complain when somebody takes what is yours.
In order to help us understand what He wants us to do, he gives us two statements: the Golden Rule, “Treat others as you would like people to treat you!” (Lk 6:31) and, “Be merciful as your Father in Heaven is merciful!” (Lk 6:36).
Jesus not only wants to change the situation but he wants to change the whole system. He started a revolution - a revolution from the heart. He wants to build a world from a new experience of a God, He calls, Abba (Father), who is full of tenderness and mercy. Jesus is countercultural.
One gospel commentator wrote that, “Love cannot depend on what I receive from others. True love should want the good of others, independently of what he or she does for me. Love should be creative, because that is how God’s love is for us: ‘Be merciful, as your Heavenly Father is merciful.’”
Jesus’ words are universal. In Luke’s Gospel, the Golden Rule says, “Treat others as you would like people to treat you!” (Lk 6:31). Almost all religions in the whole world have the same Golden Rule expressed in different ways. This is a sign of Jesus’ universal and inclusive desire which is expressed in His actions and words. Today Jesus calls us to make the choice - to choose in favor of the poor, the broken, those considered worthless and garbage. We are called to love differently.
Pope Francis reflecting on the same Gospel reading in which the Lord tells his disciples, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” the Holy Father affirms that this is a model of Christian life – of unconditional love in action. And Pope Francis recognizes that this new way of the Gospel is difficult to live by.
And so I end this brief reflection with the prayer of Pope Francis, “Lord, give me the grace to become a good Christian, because I cannot do it on my own.”