ON THIS EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME we might ask ourselves how many times we have been in a situation where we literally have nothing to eat. That’s what happened in today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:13-21). The people with Jesus had practically nothing, nothing to eat, “All we have with us is five loaves and two fish” (Matthew 14:17). It essence five loaves and two fish was practically nothing for such a large crowd, five thousand men to say nothing of the women and children also present. And so it was up to Jesus to provide them with something, and he did, so much that they had twelve baskets of scraps remaining. Perhaps it is only when you have nothing that you can see Jesus providing you with something. When you have everything perhaps it is more difficult to see Jesus at work. In one sense you could say that now we have everything. Because we have everything we don’t see the value of anything. We don’t see that everything is a gift from God. In a sense because we have everything there is less room for Jesus to work a miracle of the loaves and fish for us. In a sense because we have everything it is more difficult for Jesus to speak his word to us. Maybe because we have everything we might sometimes forget about God, forget about the Eucharist, forget about the Sacraments, forget to pray every day, forget to read and learn the Bible. That would be sad because then we would have everything but it would mean nothing because the only one to give meaning to life is Jesus. Only Jesus is the one who can open our eyes, minds and hearts to see, experience and enjoy a life in Him. Everything passes as does everyone, but Jesus remains. Our first reading today had a beautiful invitation to God’s feast:

All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat;
come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost!
Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?
Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. (Isaiah 55:1,2)

Folks, we often forget that we can enjoy this feast everyday. Living everyday with God in our lives is enjoying a feast every day. There is so much energy when we feast with God. If we are so caught up in life we might not even realize that we are missing out on a feast with God every day. In our first reading God said through the prophet Isaiah: “Why spend money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy (Isaiah 55:2)? Have each of us yet to discover in so many ways that we expend time, energy and effort, and spend our hard-earned money on what is not bread and on what fails to satisfy? Once we do discover this, each of our lives will be changed and our lives will become so much more fulfilling. In little ways God communicates with us from time to time inviting us to closer union with Him and we hear and better understand the words:

All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat;
come, buy grain without money, wine and milk without cost!
Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what does not satisfy?
Only listen to me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. (Isaiah 55:1,2)

The words from God in the readings today are invitations to us now also. Feast with God every day. A day without God in it is a day wasted. We do not want to wait for a disaster to make us realize that we have been spending our money on what is not bread and our wages on what fails to satisfy. It is God who has gifted us with life and everything. Because we have everything let it not be the cause of preventing Jesus from working the miracle of the loaves and fish in our life. May the gifts God has given us not be a source of distraction from the God, the Giver of those gifts. Let Jesus feast with you!

ON A PERSONAL NOTE… I want to thank Fr. Paul Noble, who served as Administrator pro tem of the Cathedral for the past six-plus weeks while I had colon cancer surgery and was recuperating, along with Fr. Hilary for stepping up to the plate as well covering additional Masses and rearranging his schedule during my medical leave. I also thank Fr. Jordan Lenaghan, O.P., for volunteering during his summer vacation to help out during this time as well. And of course I cannot thank enough the Cathedral staff who also took on added responsibilities during this time to make sure everything ran smoothly. My thanks as well to Bishop Campbell who, while on vacation, also took on added Masses at the Cathedral while I was recuperating, and to Msgr. Stephan Moloney and Deacon Tom Berg who picked up the slack in the Chancery while I was gone. I cannot thank enough my parents (God love ‘em!) for taking care of me at home during the past several weeks and seeing to my every need, and to my family members who have been so supportive and helpful. So many friends, clergy, colleagues and parishioners have been at my side in one way or another as well for which I am grateful. While my cancer journey is far from over (24 weeks of chemotherapy begin soon), it is good to know that out of genuine love, care and concern we are there to help one another in our various times of need.

Fr. Mike Lumpe