Today the scriptures are clear: “Feed me God, feed me.”
The widow and her son have no food. But the prophet says, “Feed me.” Following Jesus the crowd has no food. The disciples have no food. The people say, “Feed me.” There is only a boy with five barley loaves and two fish, and Jesus says, “We need to feed them.” Does anyone notice that so little feeds so many?
Catholics and many Christians see the multiplication of the loaves as a foreshadowing of the Eucharist. It is a sacrament that is central to Catholic faith. To illustrate- this sacrament is so important that a friend of mine named Alberta Smart told me at a dinner once that she wants to become Catholic. Sitting in front of me is a Baptist middle-age woman. She leaves her Baptist Missouri Synod church where her father once preached as a minister to join the Catholic Church. I ask her, “What is a good Baptist girl like you joining the Roman-Catholic-Church?” “Because,” she says, “I need to be fed!”
Out of Alberta’s mouth falls good Eucharistic theology. Thus, this homily should be speaking about the relationship between feeding people at the Eucharist and feeding hungry mouths in America. Instead, there are a number of Catholic people in America who use the Eucharist as a weapon against Catholic politicians. There are a number of Catholic people in America who demean Pope Francis for his regulation of the Missal of Pope John XXIII, “The Extraordinary Form” of the Latin Mass. Did you know that these types of discussions are peculiar to American Catholics, which now include masks and vaccinations?
Today, the scriptures are clear: “Feed me, God, feed me,” yet we continue to discuss old liturgy books and “gotcha” politics.
My friend, Alberta, is no longer with us today. But after her confirmation and first Holy Communion, Alberta lived the Vatican II Liturgy: she jumped into the faith feet first in a full, conscious and active participation. She greeted people at the door. She was commissioned as a Eucharistic minister. She professed her oblation at the abbey and pondered the daily scriptures in her lectio. She studied the lives of the saints because she found similar stories in their lives. Alberta needed to be fed by God and by God she was fed!
In the words of St. Paul, “I…urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” Christians, let alone Catholics, do not allow politics to divide the Body of Christ. People of faith do not allow an old Latin liturgy to break the bond of peace.
In the words of the psalmist, “The hand of the Lord feeds us, God answers all our needs” if we just stop the nonsense.
The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.
The 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time