LET LOVE PRODUCE LOVE (18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A)

Readings: Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm145; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21

Imagine going to the supermarket to shop and instead of paying for the items you picked, you are paid by the owner. Or just imagine that everything in the market, irrespective of the monetary value, is free for all. Such things are difficult to imagine, humanly speaking, but this is the kind of picture painted for us in today’s readings, especially in the first reading. Summarily, all three readings of today’s Mass speak to us about the love of God for us. The first reading, the psalm and the gospel paints a picture of God who, in his love for us, provides for us and takes care of our needs; the second reading on the other hand, admonishes us not to separate ourselves from this loving God. In all, these readings send out three invitations to us, and these shall be the crux of our reflection.

  1. An invitation to enjoy God’s blessings

The first reading is basically an invitation to enjoy the blessings and goodness of God. All of God’s gifts to us are invaluable, priceless, yet free. God gives us his gifts freely because we cannot pay for them. So he invites us to come and “eat” and “drink” for free! The Psalmist says we should “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psa 33:9). It is out of this his goodness that God provides for us as we journey through life. A question we must answer however is, despite this invitation, do we go to God or we prefer to be elsewhere? Scriptures says one day in God’s presence is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psa 84:10). As God spoke through the prophet Isaiah in our first reading, anything that we may be seeking outside of him is a waste and cannot satisfy. Let us therefore take advantage of this enormous love of God for us and savor the sweetness of his blessings.

  • An invitation to care for the needy

The gospel reading tells us that Jesus noticed the plight of those who followed him; he noticed that some were sick among them and that some were hungry. He was not oblivious of their plight. And when he took note of this, he proceeded to do something about it: to the sick, he brought healing; for the hungry, he provided food. Jesus will not provide bread again in this manner except through us. But the question is: do we notice the plight of those around us? Do we even care enough to notice that something is going on with them? And when we do notice anything, do we help? We must remind ourselves that every act of charity done for a needy brother or sister is done for Jesus, “for I was hungry, you gave me food…I was naked, you gave me clothes” (Mat 25:34-36).

  • An invitation to cooperate with God

It is true that we may not be able to do much in the face of so much trouble in the world, but with God’s touch, our little efforts will count for something. God does not expect us to solve the problems of the world, but God expects us to make little efforts in solving those problems we can, using the resources at our disposal. As we heard in the gospel reading, in the face of five thousand men – not counting women and children – the little boy’s five loaves and two fish counted for nothing actually. But placed in the hands of Jesus, it was more than enough to feed that multitude. That is what happens when we cooperate with God to help people in the little ways we can with the little things we have.

Today, dear friends, the word of God enjoins us to appreciate the love of God which takes care of our needs and to run to this God at all times. And in a special way, we are challenged today to love our neighbors and help those in need when we can, just as God comes to our help in our own moments of need. So basically, God’s love for us should necessarily produce in us, love for our neighbours. When Jesus finished washing the feet of his disciples on the night of the Last Supper, he said to them, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:15). So, as God shows us love, we too ought to show others love. That is the message at the heart of our reflection today. We pray therefore, for the grace to always acknowledge and appreciate God’s love for us and also to extend the fruits of that love to those around us. Amen

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