Track 2, Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 13: Year A
“Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” (Matthew 14: 19)
Jesus was moved with compassion to teach the people how to live with each other and to live in an occupied land. He healed the sick. And lastly, feeling their hunger, he was moved to feed them with whatever provision was available, in this case, five loaves and two fish.
Jesus took the food, blessed the food, divided the food into manageable portions and then distributed the food. This process is repeated in our Church at every Sunday Eucharist. We take, bless, brake and give. Our Lord Jesus will repeat these four steps at his last supper. He will take, bread, bless both bread and wine, divide up the meal and pass it around to those at the table.
Having a meal together is perhaps the most intimate practice we can do together. At meal time, anguish must leave. I once shared a meal with a fellow Marine in Memphis, Tennessee. He, Scotty, prepared the meal. It was chicken and rice. I wanted whole pieces of chicken with rice on the side. Scotty insisted on cutup pieces of chicken mixed in the rice. I was angry that he ignored my preference. When we sat at table, and placed the chicken and rice mixture on the table before us and said the grace, and then filled our plates, we began talking about people at work and our beloved Marine Corps. I let go of my unfulfilled want of having whole pieces of chicken. It may have been some greed at work in me, I don’t know, but I’m glad I let that go. Moreover, we were able to eat a second night from the same pot. Scotty was smart, but it was God who took care of us, even in my displeasure. We took the food, blessed it, divvied it up, and partook of the food. It was communion.
Notice that because of this COVID crisis that we are going through, we, the followers of our Lord Jesus, are again seated in the grass, here at St Paul’s in the Pines, and in many churches across the country. We are practicing our faith like those of two thousand years ago. Sometimes God will take unfortunate circumstances and bring about good works from them. God takes us from the towns we live in, blesses us in our gathered worship, and then sends us back into the town, renewed and blessed. And this blessing is not for us to lavish in for our own sake. No, no; we are blessed and we are to be a blessing to all who could not, or, for whatever reason, did not, come and worship with us. God is blessing us to pass it on. You are the carriers of God’s blessings to others. This is what Jesus did with his first disciples, he gave to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the crowds. You are now called to do the same.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John