Sunday Soundbite for August 2, 2020

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A
August 2, 2020

My inner-city parish sponsors a soup kitchen, and the time I spend there is always a holy time. It’s holy because of the presence of Christ in both our guests who come for meals and in the volunteers and staff who serve them. The fact that this ministry revolves around food recalls for me the scene in today’s Gospel.

There, Jesus feeds a large crowd in a deserted place. When Matthew’s community heard this story, what connections would they have made? Perhaps they recalled the Hebrew Scriptures, where God fed the people of Israel in the desert. Perhaps those early Christians thought of their own situation and of their obligation to feed those in need. And surely they imagined the heavenly banquet at the end of time.

But I suspect this story also reminded them of their Sunday Eucharist. The language Matthew uses to describe what Jesus does—blessing, breaking and giving bread—recalls a similar description of the actions of Christ at the Last Supper.

For me and for my parishioners—all those connections are present in our soup kitchen ministry: our link with our Scriptural tradition, our hope for the banquet feast of heaven, and especially the Eucharist. Our Sunday Mass nourishes us, prepares us, obliges us even to feed the hungry who wander in our urban desert, seeking nourishment and healing.

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