Our Lord’s Love always Provides

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
Our Lord’s Love always Provides
Saturday of the 8th Week after Pentecost
8 August, 2009
Romans 14:6-9 ; Matthew 15:32-39

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

During last Sunday’s Gospel reading, we were with our Lord at the time of the feeding of the 5,000 (see Matthew 14:14-21). In today’s Gospel reading, we see that He is feeding a slightly smaller multitude after having been with this particular throng for three days. Before, the wonder was wrought after only one day in the wilderness. This time, the wonder is wrought after three days, during which time He was feeding them with His words, and healing their spiritual, bodily, mental, and other illnesses. Then they become hungry, and our Lord feeds them once again. The last time, it was five loaves and two fish. This time, it is seven loaves and a few little fish, as the apostles tell Him.

The Evangelist tells us today that there are 4,000 men. We can expect that each man would likely be accompanied perhaps by his mother and/or wife, or his sisters. Then there are the children. Even if we count two children per man (which is a small family in those days), it is evident that the multitude is many times more than 4,000. This immense multitude is to be fed from seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. They take up seven full baskets afterwards (and the Evangelist says that they are big baskets). There are very many leftovers. I am certain that these baskets are even bigger than a bushel basket.

This is one more sign for you and for me of Who He is that we are serving. Who is our compassionate Lord ? We have just heard from the Apostle how everything from Him is rooted in love. His love is life-giving. His life and His love are protecting us. It is important that we remember this. Even though we know that the Lord is so close to us, we are nevertheless often falling into the formation of North American mentality which is that the Lord is “out there somewhere”, and that He is an Old Man with a white beard. This is not at all our Lord and our God. Our Lord is not at all far away. He is not separated from us, and He certainly does not look like an Old Man with a white beard. He is Love. If we want to know what God looks like, we already have the icon of our Saviour to look at, because our Saviour is the love of God taken flesh. He Himself says : “‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father’” (John 14:9).

What do we see in our Saviour ? We see love. It is not that God looks like us : it is we who look like Him. That is more to the point because He made us in His image. He made us to be like Him. He is close to us, and He is so loving as to be feeding and healing people all the time. Therefore, if we are going to be like Him, then how are we supposed to change ? We have to ask ourselves, then : “How am I measuring up to this love ?” “Do I show this love of Him who created me ?” “Whom do I look like ?” “Do I show this love in my relationships with other people, with my family, with my friends, with my neighbours in how I am living my life ?” “Is my life feeding other people with joy and hope ?” If we can share joy and hope with people around us, we are already doing something that is very important for broken, hopeless, lost people. If we share with them joy and hope, and if they can even get a taste of love from us, it gives them a reason to carry on in their lives. They might even find Christ Himself in, and through us.

Let us ask the Lord to renew in us this love, this confidence in Him, and this hope in Him. May He especially renew in us this joy so that we may be enabled in everything we do to reveal Him, to show Him to our friends, our family, and help them to understand that we are not to be afraid of Him. He is to be trusted because He is totally reliable and faithful, whereas even the best-intentioned human being will usually fail sometimes. He is to be our Source of hope and our sense of direction in life. In His love, He is always with us, and not far away from us. He is always with us, and not merely near us.

Let us ask the Lord to keep this mindfulness in our hearts always, so that in everything we may glorify Him : the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.