Homily (2) 18th Sunday of Year A: Michael Ufok UdoekpoReadings: Isaiah 55:1-3; Ps 145:8-9, 15-18; Rom 8:35, 37-39 and Matthew 14:13-21
The Boundless Love of God
Throughout history, God’s love for us is inseparable and boundless, as we walk through events and vicissitudes of daily life, good or bad. He also wants us to love him boundlessly! Nothing, Saint Paul would stress particularly in the 2nd Reading, should stand between us and God, his teachings, his values, his ethics, his Torah and Words!
In the Gospel reading of today, Matthew 14:13-21 John the Baptist has just been executed. But Jesus reacts quietly in prayer and reflection in a deserted place. He did not take arms to pursue John’s executors but reaches out with mercy and love to those who followed him to this lonely place. Rather, with five loves and two fish, looking up to heavens, in prayer, in consultation with God his father, he fed a multitude of five thousand men, as well as women and children who followed him. Jesus is capable of feeding us today.
But how do we reacts in the midst of persecutions, economic, social, biological, natural and political hardships, hunger, violent, war or earthquake? Do we reflect, pray, or look up to heaven, like Christ, trust in God and in his boundless love and feeding care?
Clearly and truly Deutero- Isaiah in today’s first reading trusted in God’s boundless love and the capacity to feed and provide for Israel. He invited his suffering - contemporaries, exiled in Babylon to do so. And teaches us to trust God in every circumstance of life. He says, “All you who are thirsty, come to me, come to the water. You who have no money, come receive grain and eat; come without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk…I will renew with you the everlasting covenants the benefits assured to David,” (Isa 55:1-3) in 2 Samuel 7, to bless and protect his house forever!
In other words, in the midst of life’s challenges or vicissitudes: hunger, poverty, illness, joblessness, deprivation, injustices of racism, bias, discrimination, fraud, and swindling of the weak, the poor or denial of our fundamental human right and freedom, as Israel of old, our God must be trusted and approached for care, compassion, consolation, justice, solace and comfort, kindness, mercy and feeding.
In fact, we want to be able always to say with saint Paul, who personally experienced hardships and persecutions, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature will able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35,37-39).