18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2nd August 2020
Year A – Psalter week 2
The Feeding of the Five Thousand.
The fact that Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves appears in every Gospel indicates the importance of these miracles in the life of the early church. This is because they point also to the miracle of the eucharist. Indeed, the actions of Jesus described in today’s gospel of taking, blessing, breaking and giving, are performed at every Mass, and have been celebrated since the beginning of the church’s life in obedience to Jesus’ command at the Last Supper. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist” (par. 1335).
In last week’s reflection on the parables of the Pearl of Great Value and the Wheat and the Darnel, I spoke of how the desires of our hearts are key, and was reminded of Jesus’ words: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). This theme comes up again in today’s gospel when St. Matthew says that upon Jesus multiplying the loaves and the fish, “They all ate as much as they wanted.” As St. Ephrem (c. 306-373 AD) explained, “The Lord… did not increase the number of loaves as much as he could have done, but only enough to satisfy those who were to eat them. His power was not the measure of his miracle, but the people’s hunger.”
Paradoxically, in first world countries, material affluence seems to have corresponded with spiritual poverty. How many times, for example, have we heard of superstars, who from a worldly viewpoint had it all, going off the rails and suffering from depression and loneliness? As I once heard it said, you may live in a mansion, but if you are not at peace within yourself, you may as well be living in a fridge! Conversely, in developing countries where material hardship is often experienced, there seems to be an abundance of spiritual wealth and joy. Spiritual hunger, then, arises when we believe ourselves to be self-sufficient, and we try to satisfy ourselves on things other than the Lord.
I believe that a major blessing that has been bestowed upon many during the Covid-19 crisis is the realisation that we are not self-sufficient and that we need God. We have been stopped in our tracks and been given time to ponder the more important things in life. Prior to lockdown, I wonder how many of us felt lukewarm in our faith and were not really feeling very hungry for the things of the Lord? How many of us were trying to fill up on worldly desires, thereby leaving less room for God? It could be that, while not being able to receive Holy Communion during lockdown, many Catholics have rediscovered their desire for the risen Jesus. Indeed, hopefully such a time of abstinence has helped us to see more clearly the importance of the Eucharist in our own life of faith and increased our hunger to receive the Lord’s love and presence in such an intimate way.
No created thing can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ
Sunday Message and Look
Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.
Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens! Alleluia!