Gospel Reflection for the 18th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – August 3rd 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.
When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food’. Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves’. But they answered ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish’. ‘Bring them here to me’ he said. He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining; twelve baskets full. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.
Pope Francis remarks — “We find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to our body – the body – the soul too, but – I stress – the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked because it is humiliated, because he is a slave, because he’s in jail because he is in the hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus today. And Jesus asks us to take a leap of faith, towards Him, but through these His wounds.
‘Oh, great! Let’s set up a foundation to help everyone and do so many good things to help’. That’s important, but if we remain on this level, we will only be philanthropic. We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and this literally. Just think of what happened to St. Francis, when he embraced the leper?”
Feeding the Needy
This is what is behind Jesus’ wish to feed the hungry. He feeds bread for physical hunger, but the story of the gospel today is more than bread for hungry people. It is getting fully involved in the lives of those in need.
Any christian group, parish or otherwise, tries to reach out to those most in need in their area. Today the hungry need to be fed, the refugees find a home as all our homeless and those wounded by life need healing. The call of the church is truly to be ‘the field hospital’ of Jesus and his disciples in the world.
Donal Neary SJ