Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Mon, Aug 4, 2008

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [a]

August 3, 2008


     Isaiah 55:1-3

     Romans 8:35, 37-39

     Matthew 14:13-21


August 6: Feast of the Transfiguration

August 6: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in 1945

August 8: Start of the Olympic Games

August 9: Anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb over Nagasaki in 1945


"If you are coming to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you are coming because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."

--Australian aboriginal woman

Respect for human dignity and belief in the equal dignity of all the members of the human family demand policies aimed at enabling all peoples to have access to the means required to improve their lives, including the technological means and skills needed for development. Respect for nature by everyone, a policy of openness to immigrants, the cancellation or significant reduction of the debt of poorer nations, the promotion of peace through dialogue and negotiation, the primacy of the rule of law: these are the priorities which the leaders of the developed nations cannot disregard. A global world is essentially a world of solidarity!

John Paul II, Audience with President Bush, July 23, 2002

Our Lord asks but two things of us; Love for [God] and for our neighbor. We cannot know whether we love God but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbor or no.

- Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle

For not only do people need food, but they need also the touch of a hand, the sound of a voice. For food lasts but a day, but love is for always.

- Mother Teresa

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall-think of it, always!"

Mahatma Gandhi

Thoughts for your consideration

The scriptures today are about food and the sharing of food.

Isaiah reminds us of the abundance of food - all as a gift from God.

When the people are hungry, Jesus leads the disciples and the people in an unexpected and wonderful sharing of abundance. In this sharing, God is encountered.  "Eucharist" is experienced.

This spirit of abundance and sharing is a challenge to the greed, selfishness and profit seeking  that we find so dominate in parts of our culture. The spirit behind the gospel challenges us and challenges the worst parts of  our "capitalistic way of doing things."  The gospel of Jesus values the good of people over the value of capital. Food and water are more than just products to be bought and sold.

The gospel is about more than just giving out food.  Jesus does more than just "magically" create food.  He calls a community into life.  He calls the disciples into reflection and action on their situation in solidarity with everyone who is gathered. On behalf of the community, Jesus expresses gratitude and faith in God. He gets people to sit down and share. Food is passed from person to person. Everyone partakes of the abundance. Everyone has enough to eat.  Instead of the hoarding of the leftovers, the people gather up what remains. 

Our gospel is a gospel of solidarity and empowerment.  We are called to put this gospel into practice by creating a community of charity and justice for all.

In the last year food prices of gone up all over the world, especially in places where people are the poorest.  Not everyone is getting enough to eat.  What would Jesus do in that situation?  What would Jesus call us to do in our global situation?

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

In the last year food prices of gone up all over the world, especially in places where people are the poorest.  Not everyone is getting enough to eat.  What would Jesus do in that situation?  What would Jesus call us to do in our global situation?


When have you had a powerful experience of sharing food with others? 

What made it so powerful for you?

Actions - Links

World Food Crisis- The Center of Concern's has prepared a resource designed to provide a clear overview of the current food crisis and the conflicting economic forces at work behind the scenes.  You can read it at

The worsening scandal of hunger is unacceptable in a world which has the resources, the knowledge, and the means available to bring it to an end. 

Benedict XVI, 8 January 2007

Potential Conflict between the United States and Iran Pax Christi USA has prepared some materials about this situation.  You can see them at

"Crazy Facts"

In July, the World Bank published World Development Indicators 2007. They reported that the United States is a part of the high-income group of nations, which consists of about 65 countries with a combined population of about 1 billion, less than one sixth of the world's population. In contrast, approximately 4.7 billion people live in low and middle-low income economies. This world, earning under $3,705 GNI per capita, is made up of about 99 low and middle-income countries in which people generally have a lower standard of living with access to fewer goods and services than people in high-income countries.

Prayers of Intercesstion

Response: O God, guide us on the way of peace and justice for all.

For those suffering from higher food prices, we pray....

For farmers, especially those who don't have land and other inputs to grow their food, we pray....

For refugess, especially those who cannot find a safe place to live, we pray....

For all those who are fleeing violence, we pray....

For all those caught up in the many wars waging in our world, we pray....

For those who are discouraged by politics and disputes of all sorts, we pray....

Prayer - Meditation

Adopted from "A Cry for Mercy," by Henri J.M. Nouwen

            O God, you came to bring peace, to offer reconciliation, to heal the separation between people, and to show how it is possible for men and women to overcome their differences and to celebrate their unity. You revealed your God as a God of all people, a God without resentments or desires for revenge, a God who cares for each one of his children with an infinite love and mercy and who does not hesitate to invite them into his own house.

            But our world today does not look like a world that knows you. Our nations are torn by chaos, hatred, violence, and war. In many places, death rules.

            O God, do not forget the world into which you came to save your people; do not turn your back on your children who desire to live in harmony but who are constantly entangled in fear, anger, lust, violence, greed, suspicion, jealousy, and hunger for power.  Bring your peace to this world, a peace we cannot make ourselves. Awaken the consciousness of all peoples and their leaders; raise up men and women full of love and generosity who can speak and act for peace, and show us new ways in which hatred can be left behind, wounds can be healed, and unity restored.

            O God, come to our assistance. O God, make haste to help us.  Amen.


God our Father,

in the name of him

who gave bread to the hungry,

we remember all

who through our human ignorance,

folly, and sin

are condemned to live in want.

Show us, who have so much,

what we can do

to help those who have so little;

and bless the efforts of those

who work to overcome poverty and hunger,

that sufficient food may be found for all;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


--From the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland, St. Andrew Press.

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