Here are excerpts from a homily given by Fr. Tommy Lane for the 18th Sunday of Year A, entitled “Let Jesus Feast with You”:
In a book entitled Healing Through the Mass (pages 84-85, published by Resurrection Press and authored by Fr Robert DeGrandis S.S.J.), I read the following: NASA did some experimenting with a special type of camera that could see the energy levels in the human body. This is then seen on a monitor. This energy shows up as an aura around the body. NASA’s interest in the experiment was to investigate the effects of space travel on astronauts in orbit. Experimenting in a hospital they discovered that when a person is dying, the aura around the body is thinner and gets thinner and thinner until the person dies. The scientist carrying out this investigation in the hospital and his associate were behind a two-way mirror. They could see with their camera another man coming into the room with light coming from his pocket. Then the man took the object from his pocket and did something so that in the camera the whole room was filled with light and with their camera they could no longer see what was happening. They ran to the room to see what was causing so much light to appear in their camera. They discovered that the dying man was being given Holy Communion. Afterwards with their camera they could see that the aura around him was brighter. Although in his fifties, the scientist conducting the experiment decided to become a priest after witnessing this.
The dying man was strengthened by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. Jesus in Holy Communion was food not only for body but especially for soul. The dying man’s spirits were uplifted since the aura around him was brighter. Lying sick in his hospital bed we could say that he had nothing. When we have nothing then it is up to Jesus to provide us with something. That’s what happened in the Gospel also (Matt 14:13-21). The people with Jesus had practically nothing, nothing to eat, “All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.” (Matt 14:17) It was practically nothing for so big a crowd, five thousand men to say nothing of women and children. It was up to Jesus to provide them with something, and he did, so much that they had twelve baskets of scraps remaining. Perhaps it is only when you have nothing that you can see Jesus providing you with something. When you have everything perhaps it is more difficult to see Jesus at work.
In one sense you could say that now we have everything. Because we have everything we don’t see the value of anything. We don’t see that everything is a gift from God. In a sense because we have everything there is less room for Jesus to work a miracle of the loaves and fish for us. In a sense because we have everything it is more difficult for Jesus to speak his word to us. Maybe because we have everything we might sometimes forget about God, forget about the Eucharist, forget about the Sacraments, forget to pray every day, forget to read the Bible. That would be sad because then we would have everything but it would mean nothing because the only one to give meaning to life is Jesus. Only Jesus is the one who can brighten a NASA camera so much that the scientists cannot see what is happening in the room. Everything passes and everyone, but Jesus remains.
Our first reading today had a beautiful invitation to God’s feast: “Come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money come! ...listen to me and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.” (Isa 55:1,2)
We can enjoy this feast everyday. Living everyday with God in our lives is enjoying a feast every day. There is so much energy when we feast with God that it blinds a NASA camera. If we are so caught up in life we might not even realize that we are missing out on a feast with God every day. (...)
The words from God in the readings today are invitations to us now also. Feast with God every day. A day without God in it is a day wasted. We do not want to wait for a disaster to make us realize that we have been spending our money on what is not bread and our wages on what fails to satisfy. It is God who has gifted us with life and everything. Because we have everything let it not be the cause of preventing Jesus from working the miracle of the loaves and fish in our life. May the gifts God has given us not be a source of distraction from the God, the Giver of those gifts. Let Jesus feast with you!
Fr. Tommy Lane
This homily was delivered by Fr. Lane when he was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, as Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture.