Spiritual Reflections: He wouldn't have gotten away with it in our day. How could Jesus call that woman a dog?
While it may not be completely evident at first glance, there is a remarkable similarity between the situation in which Elijah found himself (first reading) and the disciples' predicament in today's Gospel. Elijah had incurred the wrath of Jezebel, wife of Ahab, king of Israel, and as a result, the prophet had to flee into the desert. There, he began to despair. He sat under a broom tree and prayed for God to take his life.
In a sermon on the feeding of the vast crowd in a deserted place, Peter Gomes insisted that the message of this miracle is clear: It is not the will of God that people should go hungry (Sermons: Biblical Wisdom For Daily Living, William Morrow and Co., 1998). Repeated six times in the four Gospels, the feeding of the multitude attests to the fact that Jesus met people's real needs.
He fed the hungry, said Gomes, not with metaphors but with food, not with resolutions and presidential commissions but with so much bread and fish that there was an abundance left over.
The fact that Jesus of Nazareth frequently employed parables while he was teaching tells us a lot about what he was trying to accomplish during his earthly ministry.
Teachers don't use parables when they're just adding to their students' store of knowledge. Parables only come into play when someone is striving to change a person's whole frame of mind, when they're attempting to alter the way people process all the knowledge they receive. Parables are a means of retooling one's brain.
Spiritual Reflections: In this week's readings, we're dealing with parables. The one sure thing is that message is not going to be what we would expect.
In today's first reading and Gospel, the sacred authors give us a glimpse into the missiology God has used to bring about the redemption and salvation of sinful humankind. Deutero-Isaiah describes the missionary efforts of God's powerful and creative word, spoken into time and space to accomplish the end for which God sent it: to gather in all the peoples of the earth.
Spiritual Reflections: In this weekend's first reading and Matthean Gospel, God and Jesus are represented as peaceable, meek and gentle.
Someone once said that a connoisseur of classical music is someone who can listen to Rossini's "William Tell Overture" and not think of "The Lone Ranger."
Spiritual Reflections: Manna had a strange effect on the wandering people. It fed them not just physically but socially and economically, too.
Spiritual Reflections: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity simply focuses on the concrete relationships God initiates and sustains with humanity.