I like to call the season of Ordinary Time: ‘the season of learning’; learning what it means to be a disciple of Christ, learning what is important and how we are to live our lives.
- Last week we heard the parable of the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price, the great catch of fish.
- The week before we heard the parable of the sower.
- The week we hear about the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
The multiplication of the loaves and fishes show to us the greatness of God’s mercy, not only in His feeding the thousands on that day but it is the foreshadowing of His great gift of the Eucharist that continues to nourish His creation.
But, I think, what can be missed in this gospel narrative is the faith of the people – their trust. These people of ancient Israel were not stupid. They lived in and around a very inhospitable environment. They knew better than anyone that food and water was not easily accessible; they knew the dangers of wandering in the wilderness in the dark – they knew what was important to survive. That they went out so far into the wilderness to listen to Christ forgetting this important aspect of their lives is just not tenable – they knew what they were doing. They had faith in God, they had complete trust in their creator to give them what is needed. God was most important thing in their lives. They completely trusted in His mercy even if they couldn’t understand why He would give it and how it would manifest. These people, who against normal good judgment threw caution to the wind and trusted that God, somehow, some way, would look to their wellbeing.
Let’s remember that this wasn’t the whole of Israel that was there; indeed it was just a small group from the surrounding region. Most people in Israel didn’t understand the importance of Christ and even more, didn’t have trust in their God to this extent; but these followers did. They knew the in depths of their very being what we hear proclaimed by St. Paul – nothing will keep God from our side. They were comforted by the knowledge from the Prophet Isaiah that God will give us what we need and at no cost.
Brothers and sisters, this total trust in our loving God is foundational to building our society into the healthy organism that God intended. It is foundational in healing the ills within our church because it is foundational to being whole and healthy ourselves. Because when we open ourselves totally in trust to our Heavenly Father the fears that isolate us from each other dissolve, the fears that freeze us from action melt away; instead we radiate the compassion of Christ Himself through our actions. But knowing this and desiring it is only part of our living as disciples. In fact, knowing and desiring only brings us to a vantage point – it does not make us disciples, or at least very effective ones.
We need to hunger for this type of trust, we need to work hard at gaining it. It should never be something that we long for and never try to gain. It isn’t some item on a bucket list that we pull out and look at every so often only to put it back in a drawer; it should be the primary action point in our list of priorities. Trust in God allows us to be one with Him who created us because trust leads to openness and openness leads to increased trust. Increased openness – increased trust – one building on the other leads to a deeper relationship – it is love.
Yesterday, Aeneas Williams, was inducted into the NFL Hall Fame. In his induction speech he made a powerful statement ‘Begin with the end in mind and die empty’. And though he was talking about football; a better lesson on how we should desire and work for our relationship with God could not be spoken. God gives His all to make sure we are with Him in Heaven and we should do the same. Keep God as our goal, throw our very being, our ‘everything’, into reaching that goal and trust that though it might not seem like it (as the world swirls around us) God has assured us this goal is within our grasp; our first step is to reach for Him.
Desire trust, allow trust, work for trust, and give everything to attain it – God is doing the same.