A Cycle – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 20
Come to me all of you who thirst, come without any attempt to attain it by your own merit, just come and receive.
Lord, it is late, this place is deserted, dismiss the people so they go to the surrounding villages and find something to eat.
How different those two statements are. One is inviting us to come and trust God will fulfill our hunger to know God loves us. To trust God is aware of our every desire. That God will heal the wounds inflicted on us by indifference, anger, jealousy, and outright violence. That by trusting him, we will be transformed, and our needs will be satisfied.
The other is a statement showing uncertainty, a total lack of trusting Jesus will be able to give us anything but more of the same indifference or disinterest in our needs. This is the impact of indifference we have experienced in life’s relationships. This statement echo’s the question we hear and thoughts we often say to ourselves, “does God care what I am going through” or “where is God when I need Him.”
To truly understand the parable of the loaves and fishes we must go back to that prophesy from God to us spoken by the prophet Isiah in our first reading. Come to me all who thirst. Come and be satisfied. Why do you spend your time on things which in the end do not satisfy? God is not just talking about money, wealth, or material pursuits. There are spiritual things we do that also leave us unsatisfied and at times wondering why we exerted the effort because they have no lasting impact on us.
Heed me, God says to us, and you will be satisfied. What we are to do is more than show up, we must listen and respond. Heeding what we hear; internalizing what we hear demands more than an intellectual pursuit of knowledge of God. It is a hunger, a desire to understand what God is doing. You know the disciples did not have a clue what Jesus was doing on the mountain that day when he said, “feed them yourselves.” Their responses show they did not know because they saw the impossibility of feeding thousands with what they had.
That is precisely the point. We will never be able to shed our human nature of self-reliance and just follow Jesus trusting he will satisfy our every desire. We spend a lot of time talking about the response of the disciples and Jesus multiplying the loaves, but we do not look at thousands of people. They are not murmuring about the isolation of the place or wondering what they are going to eat. Can it be they followed and trusted completely?
Can it be they understood the prophesy of Isaiah and believed if they heeded Jesus they would eat well and delight in rich food? Simple faith or absolute trust based on something we begin to understand when we begin to grow in our relationship with God. I invite you to go back and read this prophesy from Isaiah 55: 1-3. It is a promise of God made to us and it has a finite result if we follow and trust God’s promise. That result is if we, “Come to (God) heedfully (and) listen… (we will) have life (and God) will renew with (us) the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David.”
What was that covenant? God would be with him always and would establish for him an everlasting throne. We are heirs to that promise. We are sons and daughters, kings and queens of the Most High God. We have been bought into the Kingdom of God Jesus established on this earth and we are destined to live forever in the Kingdom of God in heaven.
There is another promise of God that followed long after the reign of David on the throne and it is one, we should use as the foundation of our belief and trust in God’s promises.
It comes to us through the prophet Jeremiah. If you have listened to me preach or if you have read my homiletic blog for any period of time you know that prophesy. It came to us at a time when all seemed lost, despair filled the people of God and he said to them, “this is the covenant I will make with the people…after that time, I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts, I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor or say to one another know the Lord, because they will know me from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sin no more” (Jer.31:33-34).
Come to me all you who hunger and thirst. Feed them yourselves. If we are to do either of those we need to completely trust in God. The only way we can do that is by an absolute trust in the promise of God, an absolute trust and belief the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was for the forgiveness of our sins and an absolute belief and trust in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to write God’s law on our hearts so we grow in understanding the depth of God’s love for us.
The wonderful thing is it all of that is ours because God desires it to be ours. God said we will have life because the everlasting covenant made with David is passed on to us the heirs of the kingdom. The wonderful thing is that promise made to us through prophet Jeremiah says we will know him. Not intellectually know him but we will have the type of knowledge a lover has with their beloved because God desires intimacy with us not obedience.
However, to attain intimacy we must be willing to trust God in all things, we must look beyond the fact things seem impossible for God is with us. The final part of God’s promise given to us through Jeremiah is the most amazing statement in the scriptures, and it is repeated throughout the scriptures. God promised us he will forgive our wickedness and forget our sins.
Once we understand those basic promises of God we will never doubt God has what we need and we will constantly walk in faith even if there does not seem to be any way we could see the power of God in our lives.