THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
July 26th AD 2020
“And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness.”
From time immemorial, the perennial question of all who seek the truth could be fashioned upon this question of the Disciples of Jesus… “How can a man be satisfied in the wilderness of this world?” Let us look more closely at the Divinely Inspired words of the gospel this morning and discern the answer.
“In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers [for many] came from far.
Jesus is on Gentile soil. Earlier in the gospel he has fed 5000 Jews. Here he feeds 4000 Gentiles.
And these Gentiles have been following him into the wilderness, listening to his teaching for 3 days and have had nothing to eat. Recall the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry. He was alone in the wilderness and was hungry. The devil tempted him to turn the stone into a loaf of bread. Jesus rebukes Satan with the words “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out to the mouth of God.” These Gentiles certainly seem to be men of good will. They are not living by bread alone, but by every word that proceedth out of the mouth of God Incarnate. They have fasted for three days, and would have willingly fasted all the way home. But the Son of God is too good to let them. He is moved by their faith shown forth by their actions. He says, “I have compassion on the multitude, BECAUSE, they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat.”
This is what prompts the disciple’s question: “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness.” This is the second time that the disciples have been in the wilderness. It seems as though they would have remembered. But they have forgotten. We forget too. So he asks the disciples, “How many loaves have ye? And they said, seven. And he commanded them to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.”
Do any of those words sound familiar? He took the bread, gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before the people.
Remember the words of Jesus at the Last Supper? When he instituted the Eucharist? Remember the words that we hear week after week?
“FOR IN THE NIGHT IN WHICH HE WAS BETRAYED, HE TOOK BREAD; AND WHEN HE HAD GIVEN THANKS, HE BRAKE IT, AND GAVE IT TO HIS DISCIPLES, SAYING, TAKE, EAT, THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH IS GIVEN FOR YOU; DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.”
The Feeding of the Israelites in the wilderness, The Feeding of the 5000 Jews, The Feeding of the 4000 Gentiles are pointing us too the Feeding of the Church in the wilderness of the world.
The gospel tells us that they eat and were filled…but they would hunger again. Only the true bread from heaven, Jesus Christ himself, gives eternal life. Those who come to him with hearty repentance and true faith…they shall eat and be eternally satisfied…for he who has compassion on the multitudes says: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
To restrain people from the bread of life is the gravest of offenses. And to cut people of from it is spiritual suicide. “Lord have mercy upon us, for we know not what we do.”
“LORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts a love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”