Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

God’s Unconditional Love: Heals and Frees Us

Readings: 1st: Is 55: 1-3; Ps 55; 2nd: Rom 8: 35. 37-39; Gos: Mt 14: 13-21

This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico, the island of enchantment. He is the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico; the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. For more details and comments contact him at:  canice_c_njoku@yahoo.com, canicechukwuemeka@gmail.com.

On this 18th Sunday of ordinary time our attention is drawn once again to the unconditional love of God fully manifested in his Son Jesus Christ. This great love which we celebrate today, as well as being the source of our entire life, equally sustains our life with the food of the Eucharist, made visible in Jesus Christ.

In our first reading today, God extends a special and universal invitation to all of us and offers us everything free of charge. His gifts, his love, and care are as free and limitless as the air we breathe.  Most important, Christ knows our basic needs. The only thing God wants from us as he invites us today is: “Come…listen, listen to me…pay attention, come to me, listen and your soul will live…”

What a simple condition this is? All he wants is “come”, listen”, and “pay attention!” This is a universal invitation. Also, this invitation expresses the urgency of the matter. It is urgent because, the longer we delay, the harder it will be for us to come. Also, there will be less opportunity for us. Through this invitation, Isaiah reminds us that God wants us to experience his love, comfort, and to enjoy his provision for us (Is 40:1).

In the second reading, Paul speaks with great confidence about the love of God for us. Of course, he speaks as one who has experienced this love. He assures us that nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, “not troubles, persecutions, lacks…for I am certain of this, neither death nor life, nor any created thing can ever come between us and the love of God…” Paul stresses the inability of all these to separate us from the love of Christ. None of these is capable of diminishing the of love and friendship that exists between Christ and every true believer.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus practically demonstrated and manifested his love for us, his people. The feeding of the five thousand shows the profound generosity of God and his great love towards us. The twelve baskets full of fish and loaves that were leftover show the overflowing generosity of God’s gifts to us – gifts that bring blessing, healing, strength, and refreshment. God never rests in caring for our needs. Jesus never disappoints those who earnestly seek him.

What do we learn from today’s gospel? Quiet a lot! First, Jesus both sympathizes and empathizes with us in our distress. He feels what we feel and comes to our aid. Second, whenever we come to him, he never casts us away. Third, he defiles all odds in order to make us comfortable. He makes the impossible happen just for our good. Fourth, the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, is a sign that prefigures the superabundance of the unique bread of the Eucharist, and the love of God which sustains us on our journey.

The love of God continues to heal us every day of our life. It continues multiplying our loaves, and it continues to comfort, and satisfy us. His banner over us is love (Song of Sons 2: 4). When God gives, he gives abundantly.

Finally, the little ones who presented their loaves and fish were instruments of love in Christ’s hands. Jesus needed those items to perform his miracle of love. So, they participated in the miracle. Today, Jesus also invites us participate in his miracles.

Peace be with you all!



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