It is said that in sharing a meal with others we share ourselves. One cannot sit at table, eating a communal meal, without sharing in the lives of those who sit at table with us. Our Lord often sat at table with others; sharing not only in their meal, but in their lives. This was one of his most personal and effective methods of teaching and preaching. His was a close and personal approach to sharing his life with those around him.
In Corinthians, the scriptural passage just prior to the one today, Paul admonishes those who were rich for eating and drinking to excess while others at the same table went hungry. The rich members of the early Christian communities were the ones who had homes large enough to accommodate a group of followers of “The Way,” so they became the meeting places for the early church.
As the way of things in the world, the rich began to take care only of themselves; ignoring the poorer members of the community. This brought disunity to the community – the exact opposite of Jesus’ message of loving all our brothers and sisters as we love ourselves. Paul reminds the community of our Lord’s words at the Last Supper; his institution of the Eucharist as a remembrance of His sacrifice: His ultimate sharing of love for them - His Life for all people.
In our sharing of the Eucharist at the communal meal of the mass, we share in the mission and ministry of Christ: not only at this table, but with the whole world. We continue His presence among all people, seeing and being Christ as we share our lives.
We are given many opportunities by the Holy Spirit to be Christ to the world: to share Jesus, the Bread of Life, with all people. It is in recognizing these opportunities that we need to see with the eyes and heart of Christ.
In today’s Gospel, the Apostles almost missed a wonderful opportunity to live in the mission and ministry of Jesus. By asking Jesus to send the people away to find lodgings and provisions, they failed to see that it was within them that the people would be served in all their needs.
Jesus tells them to feed the people, but the Apostles complain that they only have five loaves and two fish.
- Where the Apostles see little substance, Jesus sees great abundance.
- Where the Apostles rely on man’s efforts to provide, Jesus relies on the power of God.
He knows that it is only when we rely on the love of God that we are powerful and through our belief - we are able to do all things – even care for and feed a multitude - who hunger and thirst.
God chooses the weak things in the world to shame the mighty. He gives us gifts and talents to use in service to one another, so we may glorify Him. We are each called and chosen: - to bring the Good News to all creation, - to care for those in most need - the least of our brothers and sisters with whom we share our meal of thanksgiving at the table of Christ’s sacrifice.
When we are given an opportunity to do God’s will –
- Do not despair in our inability to provide through our own meager means, - trust in the Lord to provide.
- Do not be defeated in doing the will of God by allowing ourselves to be led by Satan into believing in our own inadequacies.
The evil-one blinds us into seeing only the five loaves and two fish - instead of the abundance provided by God - that satisfies the hunger of five thousand and has enough left over to feed five thousand more.
We need to trust in God’s love and mercy to provide us with all we need to do His will. Our poverty does not impede His Love - which is endless and in abundance for all - with more left over for future generations – until the end of time.
Deacon Don Ron