I pray all is well for you back in Georgia. I have returned to the seminary to begin my fourth year of studies. I have a challenging year ahead of me but I look forward to what is in front of me. This past summer I spent 8 weeks in Central America. I was studying and improving my Spanish proficiency in the country of Guatemala. Though I need to continue to practice, I have learned a great deal and have improved greatly from where I was at the beginning of the summer.
Can you imagine the scene from today's Gospel story taking place today on a street in New York? Think about the hue and cry that you would hear from the cable news stations over a viral video of Jesus and his disciples ignoring a woman begging for his help. And imagine what the pundits would say about Jesus' comment likening her to a dog?
Jesus has been feeding the hungry, curing the sick, now it is time to refill his spiritual tanks. Now it is time to replenish the relationship that matters most, our relationship with God. Now it is time for prayer. The Gospel says that Jesus is alone, but he is never alone; the Father is always with us and we are always in the heart of our intercessor as he lifts us up in prayer.
Water covers about two thirds of the earth's surface. We know that we cannot live without it, but sometimes we cannot live with it. The apostles understood water very well. They derived their livelihood as fishermen from it. For them water usually meant life. But one night in particular, with the wind howling above them and the water roaring beneath their boat, they knew that water could mean their death.
While Herod is hosting an orgy in the palace for the elite and the self-centeredness there leads to the death of John the Baptist, Jesus, moved with pity and concern for the masses, hosts a banquet in the wilderness for thousands. It is a life giving banquet that evokes Israel's manna (the desert), Isaiah's vision (first reading), the Church's Eucharist and heaven's supper of the Lamb. And after the banquet is finished Matthew tells us, please note, that there are twelve baskets (perfect number/symbolic) left over; that is to say Jesus' feast is prolonged through all generations. It doesn't run out. In Jesus there is an exhaustible supply of care and concern given through the Eucharist. Make no mistake this is a story about the Eucharist "He took, blessed and broke and distributed".