18th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Pulpit Plan

Theme : We hunger when we forget God!

1st Reading:     Isaiah 55:1-3

Responsorial Psalm:     Ps 145

2nd Reading:     Romans 8:35.37-39

Gospel :           Matthew 14: 13-21


  • In eastern Europe, there is a sect of Jews known as Hasidim. According to their tradition, their founder – Baal Shem Tov, used to take his disciples into the forest where they would make a fire and dance around it.  Baal Shem Tov would then pray aloud until all of them were lifted into a state of ecstasy.
  • After the death of their founder, the disciples continued to go to the same spot to light a fire and dance but they forgot the prayer to say and the ritual just did not seem the same any more
  • As time went on, they stopped dancing because it did not seem to be so important – especially without the prayer!
  • Eventually they stopped lighting the fire and so generations passed and the entire experience was lost!
  • The story of the Hasidim Jews is about most groups; most people!
    • We forget our traditions and teachings
    • We forget our prayers and the words God speaks to us
    • We forget what we are about!
  • Today’s Gospel invites us to try to remember the life of Jesus!
    • To remember his teachings
    • To remember his words
    • To remember our rituals
    • And so, remember what we are truly and most essentially about!
  • Jesus’ heart was moved by the hunger of the crowd who had followed him to that deserted place!
    • And despite his grief at the death of his cousin, John the Baptist – deep compassion urges him to action!
  • How does Jesus act?
  • How does he take care of the hunger of the crowds?
    • He does not feed the crowd by himself – he uses others – He tells the disciples: “You give them something to eat.”
  • The disciples respond by offering excuses and suggesting that the people be sent away!
    • Because they do not think that they can do very much;
    • their resources are scarce: “they said to him, we have only five loaves here and two fish.”
  • Clearly, the disciples had forgotten what they had seen Jesus say and do in the past!
    • they had forgotten what he was capable of!
  • How often this happens to us too –
    • we seek excuses rather than opportunities!
    • we doubt rather than trust!
    • We try to do it on our own rather than with Jesus!
      • We forget what he is capable of!
    • Frequently, we behave like the people of the Prophet Isaiah’s time – we hear the invitation to an abundant meal – but we exile ourselves and live with our hunger unsatisfied!
    • To be human is to be hungry and in need –
      • of love and friendship!
      • of forgiveness and compassion!
      • of hope and trust!
    • Perhaps the hungry are a privileged class
      • Because God can fill them with everything they need!
    • But this can only happen when we remember Jesus and his invitation to come to the table; the rich banquet of his love and life!
    • The Eucharist is our great act of remembrance!
      • the only meal that will quench our thirst, and satisfy our hunger!
    • The Eucharist reminds us that we are never defeated by our hungers, our desires and our disappointments!
    • The Eucharist reminds us that we need to look further, to widen our vision and raise our sights!
    • The Eucharist reminds us that we are part of a gifted community capable of healing the world!
    • Our community gathers around the table day after day; week after week to remember Jesus!
      • He alone meets our needs!
    • There is no need for anyone to go away from Jesus to have their needs met – somewhere else!
    • When we are faithful to our mission, Jesus is able to meet the needs of people through us; even if we have very little!
    • This Eucharist – every Eucharist – should remind us of this!
    • Every Eucharist should remind us how to dance around the fire of God’s love!


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