The Prophet Isaiah: 55:1-3 ~ All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat.
Psalm 145: The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season
Paul’s letter to the Romans: 8:35-39 ~ What will separate us from the love of Christ?
The Gospel According to St. Matthew: 14:13-21 ~ Jesus said to them: “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then Jesus said, “Bring them hear to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
A doctor who was quite lukewarm in his faith returned from a church sponsored mission to Honduras and Guatemala on fire for Jesus. His compassion and love for the poor was growing every day. His prayer life was becoming very intimate to the point that he could hear God speak in his heart. One night in prayer, the doctor asked God a few questions to which he was surprised at how he could hear God’s voice in his heart.
“God, how much is a thousand years to you?”
God answered, “About a second.”
Then he asked, “God, how much is a million dollars worth to you?”
God answered, “About a penny.”
The doctor thought he would go out on a limb and asked, “God, please give me two pennies for my mission work in Honduras and Guatemala?”
The doctor’s heart was in the right place. However, he didn’t realize that his intimate relationship with Jesus is worth far more than two million dollars. You see a million or two dollars does not address the problem of the poor. It is a temporary fix. I am sure that the poor people of Honduras or Guatemala need much more from the doctor than his fund raising/ appeal to God. They need to see the doctor working side by side with Jesus, never separated.
Like the disciples, we look at what we got and focus on our own limited resources rather than the abundance of God. “Five loaves and two fish is all we have here!” God invites all of us to give from our own needs, not just our surplus. How often does Jesus point out to us how our own faith is the source of healing for ourselves and for our loved ones? “Go in peace. Your faith has healed you!”
Our ideas about ministering to the poor often miss the mark just like the disciples who believed that their concerns for the crowd were greater than Jesus. They tried to tell Jesus to send the people away to get food. Discipleship requires great emotional sacrifice and humility. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is already with us for all eternity. We have nothing to fear. God loves us, what could we fear?
Jesus seems to be suggesting that we get in the boat with him and travel to the deserted, poor and war torn places. When I get in the boat with Jesus who is grieving the death of his cousin John who was violently beheaded, it can be overwhelming. Can you see how Jesus feeds the crowds every time with our meager offerings?
Jesus feeds millions with just a little bit of bread and a few drops of wine. We truly will all eat and be totally satisfied after eating the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation today. Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate any of us from the love of God, not for a second nor a thousand years.
Then Jesus will take our bodies, look to heaven, say the blessing. God will break our bodies that are one with Jesus. Then God will feed the world with our unconditional love.
Now that is Good News you can sink your teeth into.