17th Sunday of Ordinary Time July 29, 201
I know a secret! Anyone want to know what my secret is? Is anyone searching for answers? Is anyone searching for wisdom? Does anyone want to know the secret to becoming the creator of an idea or dream that leads to a success story? Does anyone want to know the secret to achieving more than they ever thought they could?
Anyone want to know the secret to living life in a manner which sets free ones spirit to dream and imagine beyond one limitations. Anyone want to know the secret doorway that allows one to utilize ones natural aptitudes and talents to the fullest? Anyone want to know and live the reason for which they were created? Does anyone want to know the secret to the source that enables one to reach beyond themselves to open and create a spiritual infection that engulfs and set on fire all those around them?
To discover this secret one must be ready and open to having their heart tested? Does anyone know what heart I am talking about? It is the heart of our spirit – the place now one else knows or can see. It’s the place where we freely make our decisions! It is the place the evil one attacks to destroy the spirit of truth that lives there.
Listen to the secret that is hidden in the scripture readings today! From 2 Kings we hear of a man from Baal-shalishah. This must have been a man grounded of the earth with dirt under his fingernails – a farmer who brought Elisha, twenty barley loaves made from the first fruits, and fresh grain in the ear.
Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” Being a practical hard working common servant of the earth he objected. You gotta be kidding me! This is the best of my best. It is reserved for sacrifice to God alone. Further “How can I set this before a hundred people and each have enough to eat?”
Yet Elisha insisted for he knew the secret, “Give it to the people to eat.” “For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'” Indeed when they had eaten, there was some left over. One can not out give God.
The secret reveled? Within the Barley grain lie’s a secret. In those days barley was considered a common grain for common people and to feed the poor. But Elisha knew the secret hidden there. Barley provides excellent nutrition and protein to sustain life abundantly. It is food that provides for growth and bone and muscle. Even today Barley is feed to maintain a competitive edge to racing pigeons so they can excel. Barley is a symbol of no matter how lowly or poor one is viewed one cannot exhaust the potential spirit of God that lives within no matter the circumstances of the time!
We humans are such slow learners and throughout history we tend to stumble over the same basic lessons of truth – To teach us God chooses what the world views as foolish, weak, lowly, common, poor, despised or essentially unqualified. Our God unleashes from a spirit of unity, an abundance which can overcome the impossible to those willing to open their hearts to the risk of encountering the spirit of God that calls from within ones heart.
Again the essence of this secret is reveled in the letter to the Ephesians! Did we hear it? We are called to the unity of one hope, one Lord and Father of all, one faith, and one baptism. The secret of abundance lives in the grace that flows from the spirit of Baptism into the soul of the baptized for ever more! We tend to think of baptism as a one time event of long ago. Yet we know our souls are marked indelibly, forever and the grace of Baptism can never be exhausted! One cannot separate the spirit from the body for this God never abandons us! Our hope lives in our unity with God’s potential to overcome division from within.
Today we will celebrate the Baptism of one of our own. The spirit of the secret will be poured out through Baptism onto not just this child of God but we the baptized will be re-immersed into the unity of the font of new life. We the people stand as the witness for the church. We the people stand as the unity of the Body of Christ dedicated to supporting this child from this day forward.
Like the people of Jesus time we the people must live in our modern day, a world full of anger, inequity and turmoil. We are confronted with what seems an endless and unbounded human ability to wreck tragic anger, failure, uncertainty, fear, and grief upon our fellow man. We soberly stand as a witness to the recent 2012 Massacre in Colorado where God seems to have been absent or even cruel.
In the gospel today we hear Jesus saw the hunger of the large crowd. So He asked Philip, where can we purchase enough food to feed them? “Two hundred days?’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.'” Then Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Note a boy in Jesus time was considered by the world to be almost nonexistent, owned by his parents, an insignificant nobody.
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Through the boy, the barley loaves and two fishes the secret ingredient is reveled. An abundant and inexhaustible supply of the food for the hungry is always at the finger tips of a people in desperate need of the truth that sets people free.
If we want to begin restoring our nation to prosperity the journey begins with a willing spirit open to the secret that lives in the unity of faith in only one true God who can multiply what appears to be the spirit hidden in common barley loaves and feed a hungry people.
All times of testing are not comfortable. But the secret hidden in the story will sustain us for it’s demonstrates God’s graciousness, for through the revelation of God’s gift of free will only a spirit united to God can achieve a deepening of our unity in one faith and an inexhaustible supply of the spirit of love to crumble the walls of division.