August 6, 2017 – Feast of the Transfiguration
Ordinary Time Gospel Reading
Matthew 14, 13-21
This weekend, our reading from Matthew will be interrupted by the Feast of the Transfiguration which is always celebrated on August 6. As it occurs on a Sunday in this year, the Ordinary Time readings are set aside. However, in the interest of keeping the continuity of Ordinary Time, I urge you to look ahead at the Gospel we would have proclaimed if it were not August 6! In these text, there will be a triangle of interaction: Jesus, the Disciples, and the Crowd. There is Jesus, there are those in need, and there are those in service. Matthew has something to say about all three of them. In Jesus we see compassion and mercy revealed through an act, a prayer, and a command that for any Christian of the Table is thoroughly Eucharistic. The verbs used here are not a coincidence: take, bless, break, and give. In the crowd we see the world, hungry for Jesus, longing for food, searching for Messiah. They make every effort and try every way to find him, even when he seems to be in hiding. They are not disappointed. In the disciples, we see ourselves. While there may be some of the “crowd” in us, let us not avoid the challenge of discipleship by being more comfortable among the crowd. Our search is over – we know who we are, we are here after all, in this church today. It is too easy to sit back and just be fed. It is time to go to work – to hear what he says to us. “Give them something to eat.” We see in these disciples something of ourselves, and we’ll see it next week as well. “Five loaves and two fish is all we have.” they say. “It is not enough.” they think. All they can think about is what they do not have, and so they fail to see what they do have in the one who is with them. What an insight into human nature! Whining about what they do not have, these very human disciples, very much like us, do not see what can be done with five loaves and two fish and with Jesus Christ. In the Greek version of Matthew, the command that Jesus gives them is the strongest and most harsh form of the verb. It is as though he literally screams at them: GIVE THEM SOMETHING! Stop whining about what you don’t have! The miracle here may not be about fish and bread, but about attitude and compassion, generosity and trust. I suspect that after the food was cleared away, the ones most touched, changed, and filled with wonder were the very ones who thought that they had nothing. The crowd just simply went away.
Fr. Tom Boyer