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Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 2, 2020

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 2, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Book of the Prophet Isiah 55:1-3

Psalm 145

Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:35, 37-39

Matthew 14:13-21

 

In today’s world we eat fast food and we are often left hungry.  We snack on junk food and don’t feel nourished.  We fill ourselves with empty calories and wonder why we are tired or cranky or still, well, hungry.

 It’s not just the food.  We are hungry for “spiritual nourishment.”  Our spirits are unhealthy because we are often distracted from doing what we know we need to do to nourish them.   We are often too busy to make the time in our “fast food world” to simply pray.  How often do we forget to pray and ask for God’s forgiveness or His advice and especially to give thanks to Him for our countless blessings?  Think about it!

So what then can truly satisfy our deepest hunger and longing?  Wherever Jesus went multitudes of people gathered to meet Him and to listen to Him.  People from every part of society, rich and poor, professionals and laborers, even social outcasts and pagans longed to hear His “Words of Life.”

What drew them to Our Lord?  Were they simply curious or were they looking to be healed?  Many were drawn to Jesus because they were “hungry” for God!  Jesus’ message of God’s kingdom and the signs and wonders He performed stirred fresh hope and expectation that God was acting in a new and  powerful way to set people free from sin and oppression and to bring them the blessing of His Kingdom.

Here is where we see in today’s Gospel that God never rests in caring for our needs.  Jesus never disappointed those who earnestly sought Him out.  We see the marvelous example of this when our Lord and His twelve disciples got into the boat to seek out a lonely place for some rest along the Sea of Galilee.  Our Lord was grieving over the death of His cousin, John the Baptist, and wanted to be alone.  The crowds heard where He was going and followed Him and a few thousand people had already gathered in anticipation of their arrival.  Did the disciples resent this intrusion on the plan to rest?  Jesus certainly did not because, “His heart was moved with pity for them, and He cured their sick.”   His compassion showed the depths of God’s love and care for His people.  Jesus spoke the Word of God to the crowd in order to strengthen their faith.

What God does next is to teach us to multiply the little we have, in this case the five loaves and two fish, in order to bring great blessing to others.  We heard that as evening approached the disciples wanted Jesus to send the people away.  Our Lord instead commanded the disciples to feed the whole crowd – everyone!  For me, this begs the question as to why Jesus expects His disciples to do what seemed impossible.   It is because he wanted to test their faith and to give them a sign of God’s divine intervention and favor for His people.  Jesus took the little they had, five loaves and two fish, and upon giving thanks to His heavenly Father, distributed to all “until they were satisfied.”   Twelve baskets full of fish and bread were left over show the overflowing generosity of God’s gifts to us.  Gifts that bring blessing, healing, strength, refreshment and satisfaction.

The feeding of the five thousand men (not counting the women and children) shows the remarkable generosity of God and His great kindness towards us.  When God gives, He gives abundantly.  He gives more than what we need for ourselves that we may have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need to sustain a healthy life. God takes the little we do have and multiplies it for the good of others.

All of our readings today spoke of all the things we need to sustain our lives.  Food, clothing, money and hunger are all plainly mentioned.  We cannot hide the fact that in our world today there are millions of men, women and children who are hungry and suffer chronic malnutrition.  This is the kind of hunger that most of us will never experience, but all of us can, if we are determined enough to do it, help eliminate world hunger.  People like you and me who have food, may have many extenuating problems in our lives.  But a person who has no food is aware of only one problem; HUNGER!   Despite our many problems, we can, if we choose, address that one problem and eventually eliminate hunger from our world.  No one deserves to go hungry!

I can guarantee that in every church you have ever been in there is some sort of food bank where you can donate non-perishable food items.  Another example could be preparing casseroles in the “Cooks of all Ages” program that can be made in your homes and placed in parish freezers, as well as other programs to help feed the hungry.   The miracle of feeding the “multitude” that we can preform is too simply to get involved! 

Question of the Day:  How will you help feed the hungry and teach others to do the same? 

Prayer:  Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”   (Matthew 14:16.)

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who have been affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.

Prosit

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