What feeds you?
Our readings this Sunday all focus on the ways God provides for our needs, feeds us, in other words, in ways we can pehaps only begin to appreciate… First, the prophet Isaiah reminds the people of Israel that God has never failed to meet their physical needs, sending water, wine, and milk for the thirsty and grain for the hungry and poor, those who have no money. More importantly, though, God meets their needs with food that nourishes the soul, in the deepest sense: Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life, he says. In other words, take in my Word, digest it, let it fill you and feed you entirely… for the Word is more satisfying than any tangible food; it is our means to an ever-renewing covenant with God. These sentiments are echoed in Psalm 145, in which the psalmist stresses God’s loving willingness to give us our food in due season, again, with a focus on meeting our spiritual needs with God’s justice, grace, and mercy.
It is perhaps not surprising, then, that this week we hear Matthew’s version of the Loaves and Fishes, the quintessential example of Jesus providing for the people with overwhelming love. Taking bread, blessing it, breaking it, giving it: the point is not just that Jesus did this, once or twice, but that he does it, every day, through Eucharist, entering fully into relationship with us, every day, though we may not be ready for it. And the implicit message to the disciples – his intermediaries in the distribution of this communal meal – is that they too are sent forth (as are we!) to feed others with God’s Word, with God’s infinite love, finding their need and healing that need with grace. What can separate us from the love of Christ?, Paul asks the Romans. His answer? Nothing – nothing on heaven or on earth – can stand between us and the love of God. We may struggle to live this love; that is our challenge is a world that is afraid, a world whose defenses against anguish, distress and persecution are high. But with open hearts, we are capable of true justice. Filled with the love of God present to us in Eucharist, we ourselves are not only fed, we are able also to feed others, capable of being life-giving to those we meet, capable of being food for the world.
What feeds you? God’s love.
Allow it to fill you, so that you might feed others in turn!
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.