Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2 August 2020

And we think we have troubles…

Especially in Victoria! Perhaps the way forward this week is to ponder the Scripture in the context of Jesus’ “troubles”!

Matthew places today’s excerpt in the immediate context of the beheading of John the Baptist. Barbaric. Cruel. Hopefully, embarrassing to some attending the banquet in a sumptuous palace, laden with food that the majority of the populace, especially in Galilee, could not even imagine. A room full of arrogance, power, heartlessness and, seemingly, indifferent to the value of human life.

This story sickens me more and more as I grow older. The scheming, plotting and the whole concept of “give me here, on a platter, the head of John the Baptist” and it was done and delivered within the hour to the banquet. It reflects acutely the “what do I want?” rant of so much of modern society.

This scenario is often played out in our world today. Often not reported, details seem to emerge years and years later. 

And John was Jesus’ cousin! No wonder he wanted to “head for the hills” in the face of such atrocity.

People then looked for answers, for leadership, for a way forward, for HOPE. As we do in Victoria, and as elsewhere in our world today.

So, what does Jesus do?

Apart from leaving his “bolt hole”, he began to talk with those who sought him. He took pity on them and healed their sick and, surprisingly, said to the disciples…”Give them something to eat yourselves”.

The Royal Palace is exchanged for a grassy landscape, service replaces command, genuine pity replaces indifferent arrogance, and they all ate the lake fish and the land bread as was offered.

All ate as much as they wanted…the abundant Son of the abundant Father at work!

How do we, today, begin to act likewise…Each will have to look into one’s own circumstances.

A couple of suggestions…

 +We need to raise our eyes to heaven and ask for a blessing on our work.

 +Perhaps it is time for a weekly interfaith prayer meeting in every street. 

 +Have we a street roster to check on the neighbours?

 + If you have an idea, let your Council or local MP know.

 +Perhaps read the Second Reading (Romans 8: 35, 37-39) every day this week. 

Remember Isaiah’s words, “Listen, listen to me and you will have good things to eat”.


Mons Frank