Dear One and All,
This week I have begun an experiment by posting the Readings and Commentary of the coming Sunday on this HOME PAGE instead of posting them on the READINGS TAB. I hope to post them by Tuesday night each week. The realhomilie will then be posted on the same HOME PAGE, but above the Readings on Thursday nights. This will give you an opportunity to let the Readings sink in prior to receiving the realhomilie, and hence should give you more benefit in preparation for the weekend Parish Mass. So, to get a handle on the readings and commentary you will need to scroll down to the end of this realhomilie, and then scroll back. Therefore the READINGS TAB won’t have the Sunday readings posted anymore. I will post assorted Essays, Links, and maybe you might have some material that you would like to share with the realhomilie community! Have a think about it, and send it along to me.
Finally, to catch up on the weekly chapter of the ongoing humorous story of the Village of Finuge in County Kerry, you will need to click onto the FUNNIES TAB, and scroll down to the new Chapter for you.
OK, so let’s get into the Homily.
In the first reading from the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaiah, in proclaiming God’s word is on a real HIGH! The Spirit of the Lord God had truly seized him in total jubilation and happiness. It is like in the days of old, when the Town Crier would shout to the house tops as he walked through the Village, and ringing his Bell, “ Hear ye, Hear Ye, the King will be here at the summer solstice…Hear ye, Hear Ye, a Banquet will be prepared in his honour, everyone is invited!”
Can’t you imagine the ‘stir’ that would happen in the Village, and of course the people then would continue the joyful cry to all they met. An atmosphere of real happy solidarity starts to build together with a ‘looking forward’ to this future Celebration. Now, this is to some extent what the Old Testament Prophet was doing. Our God calls us to a Banquet, a Party of good food, dancing, music and togetherness with the Lord God as the Host. This celebration will be totally achieved when all are gathered as one like a Hen gathering her chicks. This Banquet looks forward to the time when our God in, and through His Messiah, will bring about the Banquet par excellence…. the Eucharist!
‘Oh come to the water, you who are thirsty’ …Biblically speaking the image and metaphor of water as a sign of life was etched deep into the corporate mind of God’s People.
The Waters of the Red Sea……sign of freedom! The waters at Meribah quenched the thirst of our wondering ancestors in Faith, who saw in this precious gift, the very life-giving bequest from God. At the same time, God’s Word was also seen by our Ancestors in faith as food…..as bread! We remember also the Manna in the desert…the bread of life, come down from Heaven. God’s living Word which gives life to His people.
Linking this to the Gospel, we must take note that St.Matthew and his community, who put together this version of the GOOD NEWS, did so from a particular background, and for a special audience. The audience or listeners where Jewish people who would be very familiar with the whole of the Old Testament. Hence, there would not have been any necessity to explain the metaphors…it would all be understood, and the gift of faith would urge the listeners, and readers to take the next step ‘inward’ and confess Jesus as their Lord! Then that confession of
faith would have impelled the listeners and readers to ‘go out’ and LIVE what they have heard, digested and assimilated into their very life style, and be bread for the world.
Now, let’s have a look at the Gospel in detail…..Notice that the people come in search of Jesus; obviously they had had a taste of the Word, and wanted more. Jesus has pity on them and heals the sick, and let’s observe the fact the people were searching, and they found what they were looking for! They discovered in Jesus, not only the ‘life-giving’ Word, but also pity! Remember Psalm 50/51 ‘Have pity on me O God, in your loving kindness, blot out all my offences’. This Psalm is prayed by the People to the Lord God; here we see the Human face of God in Jesus, having that very same disposition that His people are encouraged to have towards the Lord God…. Pity! Let’s not rush past that beautiful experiential word..Question! Where is Pity born? For our ancestors in faith, and throughout the Middle Ages, right up to, and going past our times….Pity is born from the inner depth of a person. Its true sincerity has to emerge to the surface of one’s being after it has been fashioned by true
love, unconditional forgiveness, deep within one’s inner spirit, and then blossoms forth into a spiritual embrace which heals and gives life. Remember the story of the raising of Lazarus…The Gospel says that with a deep sigh, which came from within Jesus, he called Lazarus by name…’Come out’ and to the attendants he gives them an extension of this grace….’Unbind him….’ Wow! Isn’t that something?????
Now, let’s quickly go back to the first reading….look at one on the inner dispositions of the Lord God…….from real ‘Pity’ the invitation is given….’Come to the banquet…..’ and why? Because the Lord God had initiated a covenant with us…a marriage covenant, and in Jesus this is truly crowned and made new!
We move on….Now, when evening came, the Gospel says….Let that not pass by without mention…In Scripture, evening time is a time of revelation, it is a time of Epiphany, it is a time when we naturally want to pause, to stop, reflect and consolidate, the parts of the day’s jig saw puzzle! Let’s look at what happens here, and the sequence of events in the next part of the Gospel is extremely important. The next part is really a Catechesis on the Eucharist!
The Disciples ask Jesus to tell the people to go and get some food from nearby. By the use of a kind of shock tactic, Jesus turns the question of nourishment around and say…’What do you have?’ Now the stage is set: What do they have? Five Loaves and two Fish! If we were to stay with a literal translation of these miracles, would we most certainly miss the mark. Remember God’s Word is Food! So what Israel (God’s people) has is the Torah! That is the first five Books of the Bible. That is food from God! What about the two fish? These represent the Covenants with Abraham and Moses! Now, look at what Jesus does with these elements….’ he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the
loaves he handed them to his disciples who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining, twelve baskets full, Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children. ‘
Look at what Jesus does…do the words and action seems familiar? Yes, they have Eucharistic overtones. Jesus here in this Miracle brings about a new Banquet, the Messianic Banquet, a prefigurement, and foretaste of the final and later Banquet…called the Eschatological Banquet….As I said in the notes…the Mega Banquet when all people will be gathered together; immersed into and covered by the eternal love of God!
We are not finished yet….How many baskets of gathered scraps? You are right, Twelve. In other words the new twelve tribes of Israel is the Church, the living body of Christ.
Well, what about us after all of the above? Firstly let’s look at the inner dispositions of the people in this Gospel…
- They were searching, because they had heard of or had a taste of God’s Word from
- The disposition of God in searching and calling us is: PITY! How does that element get born in us, and what can nourish it?
- We have all been given the invitation to “Come to the water”…it is in the responding to this invitation which prepares us to give to God our very selves so that in turn we can be CHANGED and through Eucharist, we are called to be Bread and Life for the world. This is the Mission of the Church to which we belong.
Finally, and I suppose that you are onto your 3rd Cuppa by now…I am! Can we sum up a small number of words, taking into account all the above, what our Mission is…..it could well be…..
‘Go, and tell my people that I love them,
Go, and show them that I love them,
Go, and gather my people into one family, and bring them back to me’….says the Lord.
May God Bless you and your families, and May we continue to remember each other to the Lord, while we are held in conversation,
Fr.Kev 🙂 and his pet Galah ‘Sweetie’