Wednesday 6 December 2017
Advent Season of Creation. St Nicholas.
Isaiah 25:6-10. Psalm 22(23). Matthew 15:29-37.
I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life — Psalm 22(23).
This is the Lord for whom we have waited.
When we reflect on our lives, we often experience a deep longing to have our hunger satisfied and to share our happiness with others. Isaiah catches this mood when he says,
‘On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy of fine strained wines. On this mountain, he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples’.
He takes us to the mountain, God’s traditional resting place to offer a fruitful world and a table at which all people can find a seat. There will be no mourning because death is no more. We can imagine it as we keep in our hearts those whom hunger, isolation and loss exclude from the banquet.
The Gospel offers us another illustration of faith in a story of the feeding of thousands of people in a deserted place far from the towns. He tells his disciples to feed the crowd with seven bread rolls and a few fish. The impossible becomes possible when they trust Jesus and distribute the food. No one goes hungry, and there are basket loads of left-overs. As we read the passage, we enjoy the scene and ask that our compassion may lead us to try the impossible.
One of Pope Francis’ key insights in Laudato Si is that making room at the table of the world for all people and especially the most vulnerable goes together with respect for the world that we want to leave unspoiled to our children go together. The greed that feeds on great numbers of people who live in misery also trashes the world and leaves a bitter inheritance to our children.
The Pope explains the connection: ‘This lack of physical contact and encounter encouraged at times by the disintegration of our cities can lead to a numbing of conscience and to tendentious analyses which neglect parts of reality. At times this attitude exists side by side with a “green” rhetoric. Today, however, we have to realise that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.’
For Pope Francis prayer begins in the feet and the hands and arises to our hearts and minds. As we pray for the world and those excluded from it, we ask that our prayers will reach our feet and hands.
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