Scripture: Lectionary # 113. Isaiah 55:1-3. Psalm 145:8-9.15-16.17-18.
Romans 8:35.37-39. Matthew 14:13-21
God’s absolute and intimate love for us as well as God’s ever present
concern and care for us are two themes that are complementary in our Sunday
liturgy–the day in which we celebrate Jesus’ Paschal Mystery in the
Eucharist. We need these readings to help us through the sleepless and
worrisome nights we sometimes experience. We are concerned about so many
things among our own fears about the future life as well as the constant
daily demands we face. This Sunday’s readings give us an “exodus”
experience or a way out of these troublesome thoughts and anxieties.
These Sacred Readings help us to see the bigger picture of God’s redemptive
love in what we call “salvation history.”
This is God’s ongoing presence within ourselves and our world. It is often
so silent and seemingly remote that we need to remember the magnalia Dei
(the great saving acts of God) that are in the Scriptures, for example, the
Exodus Event, the Creation, the Transfiguration, and the Resurrection.
This calls for on our part a listening heart that believes in the words of
God that help us to find our way into the paths that lead to God. We are
to experience God as Moses did as a friend speaking to a friend. We need
to love with all our heart, our mind, and our soul in order to experience
this intimacy of love with our Creator and our Redeemer. We are to become
part of the salvific plan and perceive the bigger picture with the help of
our faith and our trust in God the Provider and giver of all good gifts
that come from above.
Again, as we have learned in the way these liturgical texts are presented
on a Sunday, the first reading often contains the theme(s) of the Gospel.
The one suggested in Isaiah in the great final chapter of the Book of
Comfort (Isaiah 40-55) or Deutero-Isaiah. The theme of the new exodus is
repeated and then our parallel with the multiplication of the loaves is
found in the invitation to a joyful banquet. We all are to eat and have our
fill and the single need is to have a hunger and thirst for God. “The Bible
often invokes the banquet symbol to celebrate God’s care for Israel: the
Passover (Exodus 12) and the Sinai covenant (Exodus 24:5,11).
Certainly the miracle of Jesus is done because of his loving compassion and
concern for each of the persons gathered around him who need to be fed. We
read from the first line that this miracle happened after Jesus heard of
the death of John the Baptist. He turns his mourning into comforting those
who have followed him and now are need of nourishment. We see our Eucharist
throught he words Matthew gives us: Jesus blesses the loaves, breaks them,
and distributes them throught he help of his apostles. The gathering here
on a Sunday is similar to what is taking place there as we receive the
Bread of Life, Jesus himself who is our Way, our Truth, and our Life. And
although we do get anxious and fearful we are living within the community
of the Church that unites all of us in one faith throughout the world and
makes us realize this is a good time to be alive.
St. Paul gives us an encouraging message. “There is nothing in the world
that can rob us of God’s love. Has anyone else told us we were loved that
much? It almost defies description. And that is the message of every
crucifix. God just can’t give up on us. Some people are so inhibited that
they can’t even use the word “love.” In God’s language it is used boldly
and unequivocally and with all the meaning possible. Paul simply says that
nothing is going to take us away from God–unless we opt out. And how could
that happen in the light of all this Sunday has taught us?” (Roland J.
Faley, T.O.R., Footprints on the Mountain, page 514).