Tuesday, August 25, 2009

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for today's readings.

Today's readings are not the first times that God has fed His people with miraculous food. Even the Israelites received mana from heaven. Most of us have heard the story of the loaves and the fishes, but what of the first reading? The first and the gospel both show how God has taken what man can provide and multiplied it to feed HIs people.

Interesting to me, however, is how the second readings fits in. Paul begs us to live the right kind of life. He begs us to be humble, gentile, patient, loving and united in the Spirit. He tells us to bind together with peace. We are urged to do so because we are called to belong to God who is, " over all through all and in all".

Now imagine being in the multitude, gathered in a large meadow listening to Jesus teach. You are surrounded by 3000 men (not counting the women and the children). The heat of midday towers overhead. Jesus is teaching, telling you to love your neighbor. You are hungry. You see the small basket of loaves and fish that Jesus has blessed. Hunger. You are getting a little cranky. You could get up and go find lunch for yourself. You could fight for what is offered, taking more then the person next to you because you are hungrier than them. You don't. You are united in peace with those around you. Patience, humility, gentleness overwhelm you. When Jesus' offering comes to you, you take what you need - no more, no less.

It is in human nature to fight or try to figure out our own solutions to the problems. It is true, but hard to remember that God will always give us what we need. God takes what we have as humans and makes it so much better, larger, more amazing. Unfortunately, God often asks us to wait, in the grass, under the hot sun, while hungry and slightly impatient before he provides for us. Fortunately, we are called to belong to God. God is "over all, through all, and in all." He is the master, he knows where His help is coming from. We do not. The master of the universe will feed us if we let Him. The question is do you let God feed you or do you try to feed yourself?

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