Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mt 14:13-21
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He 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 he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
EUCHARIST IS SPIRITUAL FOOD: Food among many African communities has a communal and spiritual dimension. When you visit an African home and you find them at table eating, you are considered a blessing. It is a double blessing if you partake of that meal. However, we experience lack of it many times in times of ravaging draughts. We cry to our leaders like the children of Israel cried to Moses and the disciples to Christ. We see them as intercessors between us and God, for the provision of food to us. The Eucharist is not a physical meal. What is hidden on the cross is seen on the altar with spiritual eyes. This builds our faith in Christ who has given himself to us and will not withhold the physical bread in our times of need.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for becoming food for our soul and a provider for our physical food.
A CARING GOD: God cares and provides for every creature. Despite the complaints of his people, he ensured that they had food and water even in the desert. Jesus also provides food for the hungry crowd. When man fell into slavery of sin, God sent his Son to come and liberate him. Food provides the body with the necessary energy for growth. Our food production has drastically reduced and our markets are congested with products that are harmful for human consumption. Families waste a lot of food because they prepare more than what they can consume. Jesus could not allow even a single particle of food to be wasted. He asks his disciples to collect the remains. Some people spent more on their pets in terms of food and medication, while people in Africa are dying due to starvation, lack of safe drinking water and proper medication. Only if we care for others shall we make this world a home for all. God has not forgotten his people and will always provide for them.