Eighteen Sunday of Year A: Reflections- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
God: Provider of Life Essentials
From the beginning God has always remained the source and the provider of our essential needs: safety, jobs, peace, good health, shelter, clothing, food and drinks, especially water and spiritual strength for journeys. He does all these out of his covenant of love with us. I have personally seen this in my life. He is the provider of all my talents and gifts. And He wants me to share these with my neighbors.
He provided for the descendant of Abraham: Isaac, Jacob and Joseph in good times and in bad times, especially during their slavery in
. Through the leadership of Moses God walked them through the stiffness of the heart of Pharaoh. With His constant love, Egypt conquered the dryness of the wilderness. He taught us generosity and forgiveness through his provisions of food, manna and water to all in the community of Israel , irrespective of their weaknesses. Israel
He forgives their sins and restores them from the pains and humiliations of exile and through the prophets (Isa 55:1-3) remind Israel of His everlasting love and care. He guarantees their basic needs on the conditions that God is worshiped and listened to. He wants them to know that he “is near to all who call upon his name… in truth” (Ps 145:17-18).
In the Gospel story, today, in the person of Jesus, the new Moses, the same God of the Exodus, multiplies five loaves and two fishes today, to the satisfaction of his multitudes (Matt 14:13-21), who were physically hungry. He would also establish the Holy Eucharist, as a source of constant spiritual nourishment for us (Matt 26:26ff). We shall always have those needs: material, physical, emotional, religious and spiritual.
With the advent of technology ancient desert of the time of Jesus is past history. Today, while food and water productions are on the increase their distributions are on the decrease. Many, not only in the Third World countries but even in the so called advanced and First World countries are starving and lacking.
They still lack not only food, water, shelter, education, health insurances, medical care but peace, security, happiness as well as love. They also lack the kindness, generosity, selflessness and compassion that we find in Matthew’s Christ today. Many also lack the tolerance, humility, the endurance of St. Paul, the unity and ideal leadership that Christ the new Moses symbolizes.
For all of us who are victims in one way or the other, the Lord invites us to the knowledge that he will always be there for us. And let none of these difficulties separate us from the teaching and the love of Christ (Rom 8:35, 37-39), the source of our life essentials.