For Sunday, August 2, 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
On this Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, our readings should inspire us to deepen our sense of gratitude toward God, who loves us with such fierce and tender love. We must make an intentional response every day to return our love for God’s love for us.
In our Second Reading, from Romans, the apostle Paul reminds us that nothing and nobody can keep God from loving us. “There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” Not anguish, distress, persecution, famine… and we might add pandemic, economic loss and insecurity, strife, or turmoil in our relationships — absolutely nothing — can keep our God from His faithful love for us. God does and will continually hold us in his eternal embrace.
And yet, this reassurance is only the beginning of God’s gifts to us. Our Gospel passage from Matthew recounts the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. This, of course, is a foreshadowing of the miraculous gift the Eucharist, which feeds us not with bread but with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.
Let’s look at the opening verses of this passage, for they reveal a little of the tender heart of Jesus for all of us. “His heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.” What generous and compassionate love Jesus shows.
But even that is not enough for our Lord. He remained with them, ministered to them and taught them well into the evening. The disciples suggested that Jesus send them away so that they could purchase some food. But Jesus would not hear of it. He insisted that the disciples feed them right then and there. And then, He provided the miraculous abundance of food from a few loaves and fishes rounded up by the disciples.
What a privilege for those disciples to participate in Christ’s miraculous plan for His people. This privilege is ours as well. Let us gratefully respond to Jesus’ amazing love for each of us through the generous acts that flow from our heart.