Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (NAB Translation)
Welcome to the Sunday Says podcast for August 3, 2014, the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Thank you for joining us as we begin preparing our hearts and minds for Mass by diving deeper into the Word of God. Through these readings we hope to partake of the spiritual bread the Lord offers to us knowing that the more we reflect, the better we can absorb and live out our Lord’s teachings. The readings this week have a profound message for us even if we’re somewhat familiar with them. Because the scriptures are abundantly rich and work on many different levels, if we listen with fresh ears we will see that there is always something new for us to take away. Let’s go ahead and get started. We are using the New Jerusalem translation for copyright purposes.
Our first reading from the book of Isaiah gives us the secret to satisfaction. It seems almost like a commercial. Just about every commercial message in the world is promising something to satisfy our various desires, and we spend a lot of money trying to buy satisfaction. But God, knowing how we are made, redirects us by asking rhetorically, “Why spend your wages on what fails to satisfy?” In other words why sacrifice our time, money, thoughts, and desires, on anything less than the ultimate banquet which is God Himself? God wants to be satisfied and in his kindness shows us the way. “Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live.” This is also prefigures the Eucharist. The prophet says “Buy corn without money.” How do we “buy” something if we don’t have money? This only makes sense if the price has been paid by someone else.
The Responsorial Psalm continues the same theme that true satisfaction is found in provided by God. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs. He satisfies the desire of every living thing. He makes himself available to us if we call upon Him.
The Second Reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans. Like the first reading from Isaiah and the Responsorial Psalm, this passage from Chapter 8 is one that emphasizes God’s love and grace. It is perhaps one of the most eloquent expressions of hope for Christians. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer is nothing. No “thing,” i.e. no situation can separate us. The only thing that can separate us is our rejection of God if we so choose through our free will. It is true that in this life we have our work cut out for us, and have to face many challenges just as Saint Paul did. But Paul also knew that God would supply every need and every grace to help us. So what does this say to how we should live our daily lives? If nothing can separate us from God, we should be able to live as children of God, in joy, even in our pagan culture, fearing neither life nor death. This is the peace that passes all understanding and attracts others to the faith through our witness.
Our reading from the Gospel of Matthew is one of several recordings of Jesus’ miracles of the multiplication of the loaves. This passage is rich because it operates on many different levels. First of all it demonstrates fulfillment of the Old Testament as it echoes similar passages in the Old Testament where prophets of the Lord performed miracles multiplying food. Second, it is clear demonstration of the sacrificial nature of Christ’s love that we can imitate. This particular instance in Chapter 14 comes on the heels of Jesus’ having just received word of the death of John the Baptist. Jesus wants to be alone to pray but the crowds are determined to find Him. Jesus, in His compassion sacrifices his need for “alone time,” and ministers to them without complaint. A third aspect of this passage is that it prefigures the apostolic priesthood. The disciples want to send the hungry crowds away to buy their own food, but Jesus has a very different idea. Rather than simply performing a miracle on His own, Jesus says to the disciples “you give them something to eat,” and in so doing prefigures the Church and priestly ministry. A fourth aspect of this passage is discussed in the catechism. “When the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude,” it prefigures “the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist.” Finally, notice how the passage also echoes the theme of Isaiah 51 but takes it one step further with a satisfying conclusion saying “they all ate and were satisfied.” God’s superabundant grace permeates all of this week’s readings. May this time of preparation bear fruit as we celebrate Mass and joyfully take the grace we receive out into the world this week.
Ignite – Soundwave soundwave.cc
Background Music this week
Elatan by Gustav LandinCanzoni per i Natali del Futuroby Various Artists [Cervello Meccanico] is licensed under aAttribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Italy License.
Schießengeistbären by Nic Bommarito is licensed under aAttribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.