Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

There are two great bible readings for this Sunday. The first is from Isaiah, where we hear this awesome invitation:

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1 NRSV)

Everyone who has thirst is quenched, and everyone who has hunger is fed. And don’t think about bringing any money – this banquet isn’t just free, it’s priceless.

Then in the reading from Matthew‘s gospel, we find a magnificent story about Jesus feeding a few folks. It ends like this:

Then [Jesus] instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, twelve baskets full. (Matthew 14:19-20 NET)

These two stories complement each other beautifully. God provides for all, regardless of status or wealth. If this isn’t a glimpse into the reign of God, I don’t know what is!

But we live in a world that doesn’t look like that, don’t we? Those who hunger and thirst are all around us. They live paycheck to paycheck or shelter to shelter. This is a world in which we’d like everyone to be fed and quenched, but broken systems continue to drive an economic wedge between the “haves” and the “have nots.”

And yet it’s in this world, this broken world, where Jesus comes to us in flesh and blood. It’s in this world where the living bread from heaven feeds us abundantly. And as Christ feeds us, we go into the world feeding others. You see, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a “have” or a “have not,” and it doesn’t matter if you’re somewhere in between. Christ is with you, giving you everything you need, with plenty left over.

God of abundance, your son Jesus came among us to be bread for the world. Feed us with this bread, that he might live in us, and we might live in him. Amen.

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