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My Dear Family:

In week 4 of our message series on discipleship and the kingdom, the parables are done (for now.) I hope you have taken one or two deeply to heart so that you can carry one with you and ponder it, deepening the sense of the Kingdom of Heaven in your own heart and life. Now it is time to put some of those lessons into practice.

We find the disciples and Jesus surrounded by the crowds. Despite Jesus’ desire to find some alone time and mourn the death of his cousin John the Baptist, he has healed and taught the crowds. It has been a long day. It reminds me of the times growing up when both of my parents worked. The kids were in school and then at sports. We were all coming home in the evening after a full day but it was my mother’s responsibility to make dinner. That was just the way it was.

The disciples want to send the crowds away, maybe like us wanting to order out for pizza back in the day, but Jesus says, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” In other words: you feed them. Like my mother saying: it is YOUR turn to make dinner! What I hear Jesus really saying is: it is time for you disciples to have some skin in the game and learn to spend yourselves for the Gospel. Jesus performs a great miracle, but it begins with what the disciples supply: five loaves and two fish. Jesus uses what they have: the ingredients in the cupboard so to speak.

Disciples follow; they follow the ways of the Lord, seeking to imitate him. Here Jesus invites a spirit of sacrifice. But, it is the blessing of our Christ that makes all the difference. The connection to the holy Eucharist here is uncanny! Not only in the language that Jesus uses: “and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples,” (Mt 14:19) but also in reality. We present simple bread and wine and the Holy Spirit transforms it into the divine food, the Bread of Life, the medicine of immortality. God uses what we provide and yet does something wholly unexpected and unwarranted.

Our lives are meant to be eucharistic! Our lives are our own, like the five loaves and two fish, but placed in the service of the Lord on the altar of the world. And so blessed by Jesus, broken and shared with others. Only God’s blessing makes for the abundant harvest. This reality reminds me of something my mother often used to say, “Love is kept only by being given away.”

Happy Sunday and Blessed Eucharist!
Fr. Wilson

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