Sunday Readings – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday 2 August 2020

First reading     Isaiah 55:1-3

Thus says the Lord:
Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;
though you have no money, come!
Buy corn without money, and eat,
and, at no cost, wine and milk.

Why spend money on what is not bread,
your wages on what fails to satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention, come to me;
listen, and your soul will live.

With you I will make an everlasting covenant
out of the favours promised to David.

Commentary

The first reading is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 55:1-3. The prophet, living among the Jewish exiles in Babylon, utters words of consolation for the despairing exiles. Here he tells them that Yahweh is inviting them to a banquet which he freely gives them. Yahweh alone can provide for their real needs; they are foolish to look elsewhere for consolation or help. If they cooperate he will fulfill the promise he had made to David, the promise of a future Messiah.

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Psalm     Psalm 144:8-9,15-18

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

The eyes of all creatures look to you
and you give them their food in due time.
You open wide your hand,
grant the desires of all who live.

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

You open wide your hand, O Lord; you grant our desires.

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Second reading      Romans 8:35,37-39

Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us. For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Commentary

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 8:35, 37-39. St. Paul concludes this chapter with a hymn in praise of God’s love for us: “with God on our side,” he says, “who can be against us?” Then come today’s verses, which are rhetorical questions, showing that there is no power in heaven or on earth that can take away or lessen God’s love for us as manifested in Christ, his Incarnate Son

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Gospel       Matthew 14:13-21

When Jesus received the news of John’s death he withdrew by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But the people heard of this and, leaving the towns, went after him on foot. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick.

When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and the time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they answered ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’ ‘Bring them here to me’ he said. He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves 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.

Commentary

The Gospel is from St. Matthew 14:13-21. This miracle was an act of kindness and loving thoughtfulness on the part of Christ. He saw the people’s need – it was late for them to return to their homes and they had had nothing to eat all day – and He worked a miracle to provide for this need. The miracle also helped to convince the people of Galilee – the news spread around quickly – that He was the expected Messiah, but especially it prepared the way for the announcement of the greatest miracle of all – the miracle of the Eucharist. As St. John tells us Jesus referred to this miracle the next day in order to introduce His promise of the heavenly bread which He would give them and which was to be His own body and blood, under the form of bread and wine. The bread He miraculously multiplied that day to supply the bodily needs of the Galilean multitude was but a foreshadowing of that heavenly food which He was about to give as spiritual nourishment to the millions who would become His followers down through the centuries until the end of time.

The Galileans were grateful to Him for providing so kindly and so thoughtfully for their needs. How much more grateful should we not be for the miracle by means of which He has left us Himself to be our daily spiritual food? We are grateful, of course, to our loving Lord who not only handed up His Body to His enemies to be crucified for us, but through His divine power, arranged that His glorified body, triumphant over death, should remain with us, His Church, forever under the Eucharistic species.

Though invisible to mortal eyes, He is as truly present on our altars as He was that day in Galilee, when He miraculously fed the multitude. He is present under the form of bread and wine — so that we can partake of Him as spiritual nourishment during our earthly life. Could love go any further? He Himself said: “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15 :13). Yes, once a man has given his life he has given his all; there is nothing more he can give. But Christ was more than man. He was God as well, and, therefore, He was able not only to lay down His human life for us, but was able and willing to remain with us after death under the Eucharistic species: to be our strength and nourishment until we join Him in the promised land of heaven.

When we compare our own unworthiness with this, almost incredible, love and thoughtfulness of Christ for us, all we can do is simply to say: “Lord, you know I am not worthy to receive you, but you say you want to come into my poor and untidy home, please make me less unworthy, forgive all my past sins and offenses, and give me the grace and strength to be better in the future.”

 

Commentaries are  from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan, O.F.M