July 26, 2015 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
If the command from the readings this weekend is, “You give them something to eat,” I think we can give ourselves a pat on the back because here in South Louisiana, we already do a pretty good job.
I can’t imagine a Cajun saying, “Oh no you can’t come over, we don’t have enough food.”
We always make sure there’s enough for all our guests. We would never sound like the apostles, “You want us to spend our own money to buy these people something to eat.”
And if some extra folks show up, we know how to make our dishes stretch so that everyone gets fed.
That’s why we make jambalaya and gumbo and étouffée and potato salad. That’s why we serve almost everything with rice and we all know how to make rice dressing.
We already understand this lesson: give them something to eat. We know how to show hospitality. In this way, we are like the Prophet Elisha in the Old Testament. In this way, we are like Jesus in the Gospel.
But do we hear Paul in the Second Reading who tells us to do this with humility and gentleness and patience and love. Maybe that’s where we need to do a little work.
Can we learn to be hospitable with greater charity, love and kindness?
We love our social gatherings where we eat together. These “get togethers” strengthen and enliven and enrich us. They make us feel like we belong.
But then we say, “Mass is boring. I don’t get anything out of it.”
When we go to eat at someone’s house, we wouldn’t dare say to the host, “This is boring. I’m not getting anything out of it.”
Whether we realize it or not, what we do when we gather with family and friends for a meal is the same as what we do here at Mass. This is what the Nass is. It is our Sunday dinner with the Lord Jesus.
And it is at this Sunday dinner that we gather to visit, to greet one another with a holy kiss, to be together, to sing songs together, to tell stories, our sacred stories together, and to share our most precious meal, Jesus’ very body and blood.
It is also at this Sunday dinner that we bring to the Lord our troubles. It is here that the ask the Lord for help.
It is here that we try to make sense of some of the senseless violence that happens in our world, especially when tragedy hits so close to home.
And this Sunday meal is supposed to comfort us, to strengthen us, to enliven us and to enrich us.
If it’s not, then we’re doing something wrong. And if we don’t get it, then we don’t have a good or right understanding of Mass, of the Eucharist, of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Yes, we do understand the command, “You give them something to eat.” And we know how to show hospitality.
Maybe we need to work on humility and patience and love and gratitude as we come to learn to accept Jesus’ hospitality when he calls us together to share this Sunday meal that he has prepared for us.