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Scripture Reflections - August 2
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55;1-5
Romans 8:35, 37-39
Matthew 14:13-21

Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

It’s all about feasting. How welcome the readings are to us who live in a time of confusion and uncertainty, never knowing what tomorrow will bring.

In the first reading, the people of Israel have ben chastened and purified through years of slavery in Babylon. Back in Jerusalem, God invites them to rich food and drink, all at no cost.

“You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost.” In His love, His bounty is endless. Their only obligation is to remain faithful to Him and obey His laws.

In the second reading from Romans, Paul declares that nothing can ever separate us from God’s great love, neither the present nor the future, not even death itself.

In the Gospel, we have another proof of Christ’s great compassion in the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Jesus had heard of the Baptist’s beheading and went off to a desert place to pray and mourn. A huge crowd followed him, and he preached to them until evening was coming on. The disciples asked Jesus to dismiss them so they could go and buy themselves something to eat; Jesus tells them to feed them themselves, which He knew was impossible. They tell him they have only a few loaves and fish. After praying to His Father, Jesus distributes them to the whole crowd. There were 12 basketfuls left over.

What great lessons we find in that whole incident. Jesus doesn’t get rid of people who are hungry and in need. He has compassion for everyone. He wants us never to dismiss people, but to take whatever we have and bring them to Jesus.

We will find that when we welcome the poor and the needy, Jesus will multiply our sharing with them through His grace. But Jesus wants our meager gifts first.

This great story is a foreshadowing of Jesus giving us the gift of His own Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. He gives Himself daily for our nourishment. There is no greater gift of His Love, and He gives it to us without cost.

In these days of the pandemic, it’s so important that we show discipline and patience with wearing our face masks in public places and keeping that social distancing. And we pray for religious freedom, respect and unity for all whom Christ died to save, including the unborn.

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