The Bible is fully replete with narrative stories of people living in desperate situations and needs. Since much of the population of the antiquity lives within the margin of food insecurity, poverty, lack of shelter and treat of exile, their life’s reality became a focus point of Jesus mission and preaching. It is very obvious that this group of people found in Jesus’ teachings and healings some type of hope and consolation. This tangible reality disturbed Jesus and shows us how compassionate He is in front of human suffering. His humanity expressed very vividly through his compassion for the multitude that has followed him all over the place. The story of the multiplication of the five loaves and the fish in Mathew’s Gospel started with Jesus himself expressed his discomfort and compassion for the crowd in need of spiritual and physical healing. Even his disciples have seen and feel the physical hunger of the crowds at some point they asked Jesus to dismiss them and go buy food themselves.
They are situations in life that can make us feel overwhelmed and powerless and the easiest way to deal with them is not being too confrontational and finds the most simplistic approach. For instance at the request of the disciple to dismiss the crowds away "five thousand men, beside women and children", Jesus said "They need not to go away; you give them something to eat". The hunger and the thirst of the people are real; but the response to that hunger and thirst cannot be accomplished by dissuading our responsibility rather by sharing a vivid love. The miracle of the feeding of the crowds is always a waking call for each of us to see how a vivid love can meet concrete needs without dismissing human responsibility. God’s vivid love for humanity is always viewed in the context of the Old Testament in the image of plenty, feast and celebration. The prophet Isaiah envisions God’s Kingdom in a text addressed to the exiles Israel, yearning for home and new life which God promised in the image of water for the thirsty and buying wine, food and without price.
This image of abundance and plenty expressed God’s desires to show to humankind his vivid love. God’s love is a spiritual reality which Paul claims that nothing can separate us from it. In his letter to Romans Paul said: "What would separate us from the love of God"? None of the human needs would separate us from that love. That love is the center of our existence and can help us seen the world with a different view as we come forward and be the voice of Jesus in the center of the tragedy and the human condition. This vivid love engage us to make an option like Jesus and his disciples did to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless and be the voice of those who are living with fear. However let’s be very mindful that it is not only for food people are hunger. We are hunger for spiritual nourishment. May through our participation at the Eucharist we will be fed spiritually to be able to continue to share God’s vivid love with those who are in need.
Rev. Ducasse François
The Mission of St. Juliana Parish is to grow spiritually, evangelize and serve, united as one family of faith, welcoming and including each person with love.