One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

August 02, 2010

For Monday of the Eighteenth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Jeremiah 28:1-17
Matthew 14:13-21

In both the first reading and the Gospel today we hear about prophets— their words, works, and deaths.
In the first reading, the Lord sends the true prophet Jeremiah to condemn the false prophet Hananiah, and to tell him the Lord would take his life because he raised false hopes among the people and preached to them what made for rebellion against the Lord.
In the Gospel, John the Baptist, a true prophet, has suffered death for speaking the truth against the sins of King Herod.
St. John also raised the hopes of the people for a messiah, pointing them to the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Having heard of John’s death, today the Lord Jesus withdrew “to a deserted place by himself.”
That is something he always did for the sake of frequent and regular prayer.
We may wonder if the Lord’s prayerful solitude today is in a spirit of mourning the death of a true prophet, his forerunner, his kinsman, even his friend who had called himself the “friend of the bridegroom.”
The crowds have heard of both John’s death and the Lord’s withdrawal into solitude.
Having put their messianic hopes in the prophet John and now in the Lord Jesus as a prophet as well, they leave their towns on foot and follow him to his solitude.
You and I today at Mass are also a crowd following the Lord Jesus.
Today the Gospel tells us that at the sight of a crowd following him the Lord Jesus is deeply moved.
However, it is not just any crowd that has moved him, but a crowd following him into solitude.
So, he chose to take care of them.
He cured their sick.
He took loaves that could be counted on one hand, and fish likewise, and turned the little into more than enough for five thousand men— “not counting women and children.”
The twelve loads of leftovers were no accident.
Among other things, they signify that his mission is to care for all the twelve tribes of the People of God.
They also show that he is to do more than fill bellies, far more than that.
We who have come to follow the Lord Jesus must open our eyes and our wills to want more than have him meet our needs.
Otherwise we would falsely follow a true prophet.
Remember: Hananiah the false prophet told the people that the sacred vessels of the Lord’s Temple and the People of God would return from captivity in Babylon.
The true prophet, Jeremiah, wanted the same thing, saying, “Amen! thus may the Lord do!”
However, he knew the Lord’s way and the Lord’s timing did not line up with the hopes of the people.
As we put our own hopes in the Lord Jesus, let us mark that he broke the loaves that were the insufficient hope of the crowd today.
He may break our hopes, only to make something much greater come to be.
Let us follow him nonetheless— especially in the solitude of prayer.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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