Homily – August 2, 2020

People brought word to Jesus of the brutal death of his cousin, John the Baptist. Think of the comparison of the banquet Jesus provided the 5000 people and the banquet that led to the murder of John. Herod’s was at the royal court and his guests were sycophants, hangers on. To impress his guests he promised his dancing daughter whatever she wanted. She asked for the head of John on a platter. Herod would look foolish and weak if he didn’t keep his promise.

Jesus was aching with grief. The news of John’s brutal death made him want to be alone to feel his great loss. But things didn’t work out that way. The crowds found him. We have no idea what he told them that day, we only know his disciples presented him with these facts, it was getting late and there was no way they could provide food for all these people. Let them shift for themselves.

This offends Jesus sense of hospitality. He gets the people to sit in the open field and takes the limited resources of five barley loaves and two fish and satisfies the hunger of the people.

Everything Jesus said or did was meant to bring people to closer to God and one another.

These men, women and children who followed Jesus to that deserted place were not stupid people, they were practical people. They knew that at some point they would need to eat. The families had their own hidden stashes. Jesus’ willingness to share the little he with all of them challenged them to share what they had with those around them. And they did and all were fed because all of them followed Jesus’ example of sharing the little he and his disciples had with others. No one went hungry.

Everything Jesus said or did, his parables, his miracles and his inter-action with lepers, the blind, the deaf and dumb, the outcasts and the sinners, are meant to challenge we, his followers to take one step forward toward being a more loving person, a more just person, a more forgiving person, a more compassionate person, a more loving person, even if our movement is something like baby step, it moves us closer to being the kind of person Jesus would have us be.

Today’s gospel calls us to be willing to share, even the little we have for the well-being of those around us.

Will we take that step forward?