Saint Mark 8. 1-9
7th Sunday after Trinity: 3 August Anno Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
A favorite sentimental hymn of many people goes: “I love to tell the story, twill be my theme in glory, to tell the old, old, story, of Jesus and His love.” The problem is the hymn never actually gets around to telling the story—proclaiming the Gospel of The God/Man. Warm fuzzy feelings are no substitute for the work of Law Keeping and the payment of sin by blood shedding and substitutionary suffering and death. Fluff is always fluff and junk food is always junk food.
The reason people get bored with church isn’t so much that church can be boring at times as much as it is that sin causes boredom. Sinners are bored. Hell will be boring and endlessly tedious. Eve was seduced by Satan to boredom, hard to believe I know, but bored nonetheless with the food that God had given her and her husband. Eve lusted for novelty and the “Burger King” diet of disaster “having it her way,” or, “you can be like God!” Eve rejected the food of faith the Edenic feast with the Trinity for the forbidden fruit of the murdering prodigal.
Are you hungry? If you’re not hungry either you’re dead or you have already eaten. Are you healthy? If you eat the wrong things there will be consequences. If a child, or someone who has not grown up despite their calendar years, is constantly snacking on chips and sweets they won’t be hungry for healthy meals of meat and vegetables. If someone constantly drinks the fructose laced big gulps and liters of lies they won’t be thirsty for pure water.
Heard the miracle of Christ’s multiplication of loaves and fishes too many times? No you haven’t. Been embraced by your dear Father’s loving arms too many times; had the wounds cleansed, disinfected, and dressed too many times by your Mother; had the tears wiped away too many times by your protecting big brother? No, no you haven’t!
The reason one is hungry in the morning for toast or in the evening for piping hot filleted trout is that…they are hungry! Man was made to enjoy eating healthy and tasty food. But after the fall, man needed and required food, and in the Lord’s mercy and grace, food still tasted good. No matter how many breakfasts and dinners you’ve already had in your life, if you haven’t eaten all night long that fresh warm and buttery toast will be wonderful again upon rising.
The multitude which surrounded Christ was “very great” but it wasn’t everybody. The large throng was not every Jew much less every living human. Jesus loves all men and came for all men. Jesus suffered and died for all men and forgives all men. But, only those who stand, or sit, in His presence are fed with His miraculous food. Yes He sends rain to all men and indeed gives all humans their daily bread; but the true bread of life comes only from His hands through the hands of His Apostles in His house.
The Christ fed that crowd with real bread and real fish because they were famished and He had compassion on their real physical needs—YES! The plenteous, indeed copious—cornucopias and overflowing, foodstuff was a miracle—a Divine sign done by Jesus’ Divine power as God. But, like the Samaritan woman He once met at the well, the one who He told would be thirsty again after drinking only regular water, He gives the eternal Water of Life eternal and He gives the very Bread of Heaven.
This event with the few small fishes and seven loaves did happen. It was not the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; it was Jesus feeding hungry bellies. It was a supernatural God-worked miracle. And yet He did not continue to feed His own special “12” this way. He provides food to the world and to you through the agency of man (farmers, wholesalers, markets, and grocers) and family. One works at a vocation to pay for many items needed. But, this historic event does indeed point to a mystical, sacramental reality of life with/in/under Christ the provider of all good things. For where there is forgiveness of sins there is not just forgiveness and salvation but ALSO life! Life is meant to be filled with joy and peace and family feasting. Church life at its apex is a Eucharist Feast which is the foretaste of an even greater Heavenly Feast to come!
Jesus wants to feed you. Jesus wants you to eat the goodness of His Grace; the goodness of Himself. He never runs out of nourishing life. He may start with seven loaves but He will end with seven baskets full if He desires: unbroken circles and alphas & omegas! Seven is a perfect number: the six days of creation and the day of rest. The flock of Christ will always be provided for by its Good Shepherd. The sheepcote will be protected in His presence and given all that it needs to satisfy its hunger, thirst, and health unto eternity.
Even as the fish and bread did not “run out” since the very Word made Flesh was speaking and distributing, so too in the Sacrament of The Altar the actual and true Body and Blood of Christ are present in as many parishes every Mass day—every Sunday—as have the Words of Institution spoken by Christ’s appointed pastors.
His Grace imparted in His Flesh and Blood never runs out, or diminishes, or ceases to be. Take eat and take drink as He invites; and so you do. You are filled.
Not hungry? Why would that be? Are you busy sleeping in ignorance or sloth? When one sleeps one is not hungry and does not build an appetite. Wake up! Repent! Be vigilant and alert for your enemy prowls about seeking whom he may devour. Be fortified and strengthened on The Word of God and the Sacramental Body of God the Second Person.
Are you not hungry because of inactivity and lack of combat? Repent! Pick up your arms, that is, your cross, and follow your Captain in the fight. After a day on the front lines you will be weary and very hungry and He will attend to your bruises and feed you even more of Himself!
As you daily feast on Holy Scripture you will find yourself ravenous for the comfort absolution which comes only from the New Testament of His Body and Blood here at the High Banquet table of the Altar of God. You will never be sent away with nothing to eat for Jesus has spent three days in suffering, death, and the grave, to feed you His Calvary-victorious Body and His Commandment-keeping Blood. Not loaves but Jesus. Not fish but the very Paschal Lamb Himself. The wilderness is pushed back and a glimpse, a glimmer of heaven itself, opens up here at the rail. The fast is over come and be filled with God.
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost