August 2, 2020
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time A
Fr. Ed Smith
Isaiah 55:1-3; Romans 835, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21
Sharing a meal with family and friends is one of the most significant actions we do as social beings. Nourishment, conversation, news, and laughter can make a dinner one of the most enjoyable things we do with those we love. This is not only our human experience, but also profoundly Christian. In fact, one of the earliest pieces of Christian art, found in the Roman catacombs, depicts the disciples gathered around a table, sharing the Last Supper with Jesus. They look so happy to be there with Him and one another. This weekend in our readings, the prophet Isaiah foreshadows this supper with the Lord when he says “Come and eat…come and drink…” This is a powerful passage, and we can all understand it to some degree because because we all get hungry! This is a basic human reality. And in the Gospel, Jesus shows that He understands this and knows that the crowd around him is longing for food. And what does He do? He responds in a way that goes beyond their wildest hopes. Jesus certainly feeds them, even though there are only five loaves and two fish to start with. However, in feeding the thousands He invites them not only to fill their stomachs, but more importantly to be filled with His miraculous love which is the ultimate nourishment for His people. He takes our basic physical need for sustenance and transforms it into a moment of grace. Jesus draws the crowd closer to Himself and prefigures the celebration of His presence among us in the Eucharistic meal which will find its perfection in the heavenly banquet. So, as we come together in this church, at this table which we call the altar, to share in Christ’s heavenly food, we can proclaim confidently, in the words of our Responsorial Psalm: “The hand of the Lord feeds us; He answers all our needs!” Indeed He does.