Monday, August 01, 2011

18th Sunday - homily

I don't know how much of the debt crisis debate you've been following, but it's getting out of control. I've been watching the news talk shows on a couple different channels and I have never seen such anger and frustration toward politicians of both parties. I don't know if we are financially bankrupt yet, but, based on the level of anger, it sure seems that we are out of money.

With all that's going on with this very serious situation, the timing of our first reading is quite ironic. Listen again to the words of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah. It sounds as if God is speaking about our country:

Thus says the LORD:..
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.

One thing on which everyone agrees is that our government needs to cut spending. One of the main reasons we're in this mess is because leaders of both parties have been spending our money - our wages- on what is not bread...on things not needed...on things that don't satisfy. It's only now that we are all realizing that. If they had been spending money on programs across the board that satisfied all of us and our budget, then it would be a totally different situation and debate. We need to pray for our leaders this week, that they will heed the Lord and do what is right, not just for themselves or their party, but for the country so that we will all delight in rich fare.

We can take all of this and apply it to our moral lives as well. Have we made choices that have left us morally bankrupt? Have we chosen things that aren't bread, that aren't substantial or necessary? As our government has done much wasteful spending, have we gone after things that are a waste? For example, having a pure and chaste relationship with a significant other satisfies. This is like spending money on bread. On the other hand, unchaste relationships or acts don't satisfy...they are a waste. Sin is a waste! It's usually right after the act when a person realizes this. It's usually in Confession or preparing for Confession that a person realizes that sin doesn't doesn't make us happy.

Unfortunately for many of us, it's not until we have drained our moral bank accounts that we realize what satisfies us: the good. It's not until we see how wasteful vices are that we see how the virtues satisfy. Living the virtues means choosing the good consistently. What's good is what's from God. Only God and the things of God satisfy us.

God shows us one way how He satisfies in today's Gospel. It's the famous scene of Jesus feeding thousands by multiplying five loaves and two fish. It's one of the biggest moments in his ministry. He could have put on a much bigger "show". He has super powers! He could have done something much more spectacular, flashy, and entertaining. Instead, he simply fed a hungry crowd. He gave them what they needed. He satisfied them. That's what he does. He satisfies.

This story obviously points to the Eucharist. If you listened carefully, then you heard the Eucharistic language: "he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples". And, they were all satisfied. God is telling us that the bread He gives us - especially the Bread of Life - is what we are truly looking for. He is telling us that there all kinds of "presences" in the world - politics, riches, vices, whatever; the only presence that will really satisfy us is the Real Presence of His Son, Jesus Christ, in the Eucharist.

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