Tuesday after Epiphany

1Jn 4:7-10; Ps 72:1-4,7-8; Mk 6:34-44

Why will every nation on earth adore Christ the Lord?  Every nation will adore because every person will adore.  Every person will adore because the Son of God governs the people with justice and the afflicted ones with judgment.  The high mountains and the rough hills will no longer be inaccessible and beyond reach, rather, they shall yield peace and justice for all people. Even the children of the poor need no longer fear from day to day.  They need not fear hunger.  The Lord Jesus will feed all who hunger and thirst.  In his days justice shall flower and profound peace till the moon be no more. The rule of Christ our King will cover the earth from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. Saint John writes about this Lord and King; he comes from the Father who is love.  For this reason we must love one another.  When we love one another then and only then will all hunger be just a memory.  The fragments left over from feeding the five thousand men with five loaves and two fish are still nourishing those who crowd around the Lord Jesus.  He gives himself, day after day, as Bread and Wine, Body and Blood, our daily and super-substantial bread.  He feeds even more men, women, children, all who hunger and thirst for food and for holiness.

“Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.”  Even the invincibly ignorant, who love, are begotten by God and know God.  Even those who do not call out his Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, if they love they are begotten by God and know God.  This is not some new heresy.  This is the Word of God.  The flip side of this teaching is just as powerful and painful to hear. “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”  Who is without love?  Those who do not love are without love, love that is sacrificial, love in all its glory. Those who do not go out of their way for a needy brother or sister, those who do not turn the other cheek, those who do not wash dirty feet, and those who do not lay down their lives in loving service are without love.  The love of God is revealed in its full glory upon the Cross of Christ.  There we see the truth enfleshed.  It is not about us loving God; love is about God loving us. In the Crucified One we see the Father’s promise fulfilled.  He provided the lamb for sacrifice; he did not hold back even his only begotten son. Rather, He sent his Son as expiation for our sins.  In this is love defined.  If we know this love then we know God.

Even after the Lord Jesus taught the crowds many things, He still had one more thing to teach them. He had to teach them something that could not be taught by logic or by poetry.  He wanted to teach them something about his heart that was moved with pity.  The Lord Jesus had the heart of a shepherd who sees how hungry and how lost in their hunger are these sheep.  Those who were being prepared to be shepherds, after his own heart, were clueless about the enormous hunger of the crowd.  They could see the situation only in terms of the economics of it all. They could see how impossible that cost would be.  They still had to learn about the power of the divine heart that was moved with pity. Christ the Lord alone has that which satisfies.  Christ the Lord has the power to make five loaves and two fish feed five thousand men. Christ the Lord has the power to make bread and wine his Body and Blood to feed our most profound hunger and thirst. This miracle of the fragments is only a glimpse of the real food and drink that in his compassion Christ is moved to satisfy.  The Love of God in Christ is the only love that fills our heart with the joy and gladness for which our hearts were made.  He who created us with such a hunger can alone satisfy such a hunger. Of his fullness we have all received, love upon love.  Such is the good news of this Gospel account by Saint Mark, and such is the good news of each Eucharist we consume.  Indeed, it consumes all our hunger and thirst.