The Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time
August 1-2, 2020
We do miss hugs. Even those among us who are not ‘huggers’, have had those cherished moments when we have been enveloped in the unconditional love of another’s embrace. Since the pandemic, it has become a rare commodity. Yet, when our lives are filled with uncertainty, our hearts are broken and our souls are shaken to its core, a hug, real or metaphorical, are still there with its healing power.
No hug that we can give or receive will ever match the unsurpassable love of our God. It engulfs and overwhelms us. It brings us healing to our body and comfort to our soul. It is everything and the only thing.
The prophet Isaiah assures us that the Lord will meet our every need if we just come to Him. If you thirst, there is water. If you are hungry there is food to eat. We will receive all of this without paying or without costs. If we only heed our God and listen to Him, He will give us life.
Jesus, in today’s Gospel, fulfilled this promise of His Father to those who had come to him. A vast crowd had followed Christ to a deserted place, to hear His words and experience His miracles. Yet as evening approached they were hungry. Instead of sending them away, Jesus met their needs with a mere five loaves and two fish. Matthew writes, ”They all ate and were satisfied.”
We know this was just a precursor to what would be offered, first to the apostles, and now to us. If we but come to the Lord and heed Him, we will receive the food and drink that will forever satisfy our spiritual thirst and hunger. How blessed are we to be able to be given the Body and Blood of our Lord, each time we participate in the mass. It is the ultimate expression of Christ’s love for us.
Like a hug that makes two people one, St. Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Paul, writing to the fledgling and persecuted Christian community in Rome, told them confidently that he was convinced,” that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalties, nor present things, not future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We could add COVID19 and isolation to the list. During these troubling times, these words of consolation are as true to us today as they were then.
His arms are outstretched; they are strong yet gentle, welcoming and forgiving, healing and comforting. Go to the Lord and let His loving embrace bring you peace.
Patrick J. Perkins