The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (14:14-22)
In today’s gospel text we hear these words “when Jesus went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.” We are or we should be constantly amazed by the love of God that is demonstrated through His Son, Our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ. Who are we that we should be treated with the care and mercy that the Lord shows to the great multitude of people. His care for them is not superficial. He isn’t worried only about their appearance. He is worried about their health. He is worried about what is going on in their bodies and in their souls.
We often try to separate the things of God from the things of this world. We assume that God has no interest in whether we are sick or unhealthy in the body or that God is not interested in our food and clothing and shelter. Nothing could be further from the truth. God cares deeply for our souls, but He does this without neglecting the material needs of His people.
There is a sense in which every church, every parish is a miracle. This is perhaps even more true with a mission. Many of you have been here from the start of this humble mission and you know that the mission exists as a place of daily miracles. There are daily signs here that Our Lord is alive and working within our midst as we seek to live out our daily lives in prayer and worship of the Lord Jesus and in love and service of one another.
Today’s gospel passage about the 5 loaves and the 2 fish is a great reminder that God doesn’t need much in order to accomplish His will. But there is one thing that He requires…that we entrust everything to Him. As the Lord seeks to feed the hungry and tired people, the disciples look at the meager supply of food, the loaves and the fish and they say to Him “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” How does our Lord respond? “Bring them here to Me.”
We started about 18 months ago with very little. We had a few families and a desire and yet the Lord has multiplied this work beyond our expectations. We are thankful to the Lord for working powerfully in the life of this holy community. We are thankful to our father St. Raphael who prays for us night and day. He doesn’t simply pray for the building, he is praying for each of our families.
People often wonder how a mission can function from day to day. Ultimately the answer is that we bring our small offerings to the feet of Jesus Christ and we trust Him to multiply them. The worst thing in the world is to be distracted or to set your gaze on anything else. Instead we are called to bring our focus and everything else to God. Bring everything to God, ourselves, our senses, our minds, our service, our worship, our lives, that is the meaning and purpose of the Christian life. What was true for the disciples and what is true for this mission is also true for each of us as we seek to do God’s will.
He doesn’t need us to be saints before He can use us. He doesn’t wait for us to have a multitude of gifts and talents before we become useful.Whoever you are, no matter your age or size or strength, no matter your strengths or weaknesses, God can use you in ways that you could never imagine. God can take your meager offerings (your talents, your gifts, your resources) and if you lay them down humbly at His feet and at His service, He can multiply them in a miraculous way. He did exactly that with the disciples, didn’t He?
There is not much good that can come from pondering our limitations. The Lord doesn’t need you to be perfect. It is the Lord Himself who will perfect you. Bring your sins and weaknesses so that God can heal them. Bring them in prayer, with intense supplication. Bring your gifts and your verylivesas well. Whatever God touches, He leaves changed by His grace. God does not need our abundance. In fact, He only worked the miracle when they realized that they were lacking. God does not need our abundance, He knows that we are poor and He wants to be our abundance!
The God we serve is faithful and generous, merciful and long suffering. May the Lord see our sicknesses and hungers and may He have compassion on us as He did on the multitude and fill us with good things, both material and spiritual because He alone can satisfy us and to Him is due all glory, honor and worship. Amen.