Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. —President Dwight David Eisenhower
In today’s Gospel Jesus has heard of the death of his cousin, John the Baptist. He withdraws in a boat to a deserted place to be alone, probably taking time to mourn the death of John. When he arrives he sees a vast crowd who has walked there ahead of him. Jesus is moved with pity for them and he cures their sick. As it gets late his disciples come to him and suggest that he dismiss the crowd so they can go get something to eat. Jesus tells his disciples, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
In the time of Jesus, Galilee was divided into two classes: the Upper Class and the Lower Class. The Upper Class consisted of 10% of the population who controlled and used over half of the available resources. The Lower Class was the other 90% who had the basic necessities or less. Jesus grew up in that 90%. He knew hunger. He knew what it was like trying to get by. His experience influenced him to be a compassionate man. Today we hear him challenge his disciples and us to be compassionate people, too.
How do we hear Jesus’ challenge to “give them some food yourselves”?
Mother Teresa tried to impress upon her sisters the importance of following Jesus’ lead in tending to physical hungers first, and then the spiritual needs of the poor. She told them, “Charity begins today. Today, somebody is
suffering. Today, somebody is in the street. Today, somebody is hungry. Our work is for today. Yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today to make Jesus known, loved, served, fed, clothed, sheltered. Do not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will not have them if we do not feed them today.” (The Joy of Loving)
What can we do today?
One way our parish has responded to the needs of the hungry in our community is by bringing food for Lee’s Summit Social Services. There is a shopping cart just outside the narthex where the food is placed and a parishioner takes it to Social Services on Monday. If you have not brought food in a while, why not bring some next week.