Study: Recall a time when you experienced real hunger. What was it like?
Pray: What are you hungry for in your spiritual life? Ask the Lord to feed your soul.
Serve: Consider helping out a food pantry or location that serves meals to those in need. How can you help alleviate hunger around the world?
17th Sunday of the Year Readings
The word hunger means many things to different groups of people:
- You have the “munchies” and want to graze on snack foods
- You hanker for something…but you are not sure what it is
- Your stomach is growling and you want to eat
- Your blood sugar is dropping and you know you need to eat
- You have missed a couple of meals and you are ravenous
- You have not eaten in days…and you understand starvation
At it’s most basic level, hunger means that we recognize our need for food to keep our bodies going. While most of us have no awareness of famine, we all have the daily experience of the need to eat. Food is necessary for life, and the quality of the food we eat enhances (or detracts) from the quality of our lives.
The same concept applies to our spiritual lives as well. We certainly need a level of physical health to sustain our spiritual lives, but we also require spiritual sustenance to strengthen our souls and renew our hearts.
Jesus knew this. The people coming to him were hungry – body and soul – and his teaching, feeding, and Eucharist sustained them. What’s more, every time we come to the altar we participate in the banquet of his grace. We continue to receive – Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity – the spiritual food we need to flourish.
Practically, when we come to the table may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of nutritious food; when we come to the altar may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of Christ. In both cases, the hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs.
The Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes, Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti); ca 1545-1550, oil on canvas, 61 x 160 1/2 inches, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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