Homily for July 26

The Feeding of the 5,000 by Daniel Bonnell

Homily for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

I think all of us, at least from time to time,
like to “get away from it all,”
and this is just one more way that Jesus reveals to us
how much his humanity is like our own.
He’s been busy performing “signs” on the sick,
and he wants to get away
so he gathers a few friends together, crosses the Sea of Galilee
and then hikes up a mountain.

But when he sits down to rest and enjoy the view,
he sees a large crowd making their way up the slope
- and they’re coming to see him!

Well, like a good host, his first thought is:
 “What can we give them to eat? How we going to feed them all?”
Of course, back then there was no BJ’s around the corner
and that’s about what you’d need to supply so many people.
So, Jesus takes the 5 barley loaves and 2 fish at hand
and performs another “sign” and feeds them all.

Unfortunately, the gospel doesn’t give us any more details
about how this took place, or what it looked like,
or what the people did or didn’t see happening.
But what we can’t loose sight of here is what we do know:
we do know that all these people hiked up a mountain
because they were hungry for JESUS.
They had no idea that lunch was going to be served.
Their hunger for Jesus and his message was so great
they were willing to follow him to a place
where they had no reason to think
any food would be available or provided for them.

The people’s hunger for Jesus
is what we need to pay attention to here.
And his feeding all these people is just what the gospel tells us it is:
a sign, a sign of something else, a sign of the Lord’s desire
to satisfy the hungers of the human heart.

Our coming here today, to this Mass,
is our “going up the mountain.”
As we go up the mountain towards Jesus,
do we know what it is for which we hunger most deeply:
the “hunger pains” we feel in our hearts when we’re alone,
when we’re hurt, estranged, discouraged, grieving, lost…
When we’re wondering “What’s life all about, anyway?”

Do we believe, do we have even a hunch, an intuition – a hope –
that it’s Jesus who’s the only one
who can satisfy our hungry hearts?

Do we believe that even today,
2,000 years after the scene in the gospel,
that even today Jesus is waiting for us, watching us approach,
and that he desires to feed us, to nourish us,
to satisfy our hungry longing and slake our thirst for peace?

Do we believe that Jesus is with us here, today, among us:
speaking to us in his word, praying with us in our prayer,
offering himself for us on this altar
– as he did once on the Cross;
feeding us at his table
- as once he fed so many on the mountain?

Did we bring our hearts’ deepest hungers with us today?
Do we believe, do we want to believe, do we hope
that Jesus and his Word might satisfy, can satisfy, will satisfy
what no one and nothing else seems able to fill in our lives?
I believe we DO believe these things:
that we come here every Sunday
looking for more than the eye can see
and leaving here strengthened in faith,
comforted and challenged, healed and fed - by Jesus.

(On the audio widget above, 
you can hear us singing this song)
1) In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus...
    Give me Jesus, give me Jesus:
        you can have all this world, give me Jesus.
2) And when I am alone, give me Jesus...
3) Oh, and when I come to die, give me Jesus...


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