What Jesus Does with Our Preconceived Notions

August 2,  2020  Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time  (Lectionary: 112)

Reading 1   IS 55:1-3

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.


Responsorial Psalm   PS 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18

R. (cf. 16) The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,    
    slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
    and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
    and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
    and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
    to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.


Reading 2   ROM 8:35, 37-39

Brothers and sisters:
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Alleluia   MT 4:4B

R.    Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God
R.    Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   MT 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.  
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me, ”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over—
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.

By Madelyn Bass 

I found myself sitting in a booth at a Chili’s restaurant, talking about God’s faithfulness with two ex-gang members, both of whom were at one point sentenced to life in prison. 

This was not my ordinary workday, but my supervisor invited me to tag along for lunch. Little did these two men know that after years together in prison, they would be eating at Chili’s with a college undergraduate that has no experience with the criminal justice system and bringing the Good News back into my life. 

In today’s Gospel, Christ’s disciples panic and doubt that their five loaves of bread and two fish could feed five thousand people, yet Jesus continually challenges them to trust in his promises. Following the death of John the Baptist, Jesus withdraws himself and travels to a desert where he and his disciples are greeted with thousands of men, women, and children, all who come hungry. The disciples’ fear of scarcity overwhelms them. With only five loaves and two fish,

the Lord invites them to adopt a different narrative.

Despite his sadness over John the Baptist’s death, Christ challenges them to abandon their doubt and serve anyway.

When putting it in the hands of the Lord, the disciples found that what little they had was more than enough. It was plenty. It was multiplied. And it was good.

While at lunch, these two men expressed feelings of misplacement after their release from prison. Their reintegration back into society wasn’t one where Jesus said, “Bring them here to me.” It sounded more like the disciples’ response to the masses of people, requesting them to “buy food for themselves.” They felt as though they had to fend for themselves and they were treated as if they were still prisoners to their sins.

They went from prison cells to a noisy world where people dismissed them because of their past labels, appearances, and experiences. 

I was convinced that God reserved a seat for me at this table where bread was broken by people who I perceived as totally different from me. While I will never fully understand the experience of a long-term incarcerated person, and while I was tempted to resort to my preconceived biases, I believe we have more in common than I initially thought: we are all recipients of the Father’s boundless mercy and redemption.

When Jesus tells the disciples to “bring them to me,” I think what He is actually saying is, “Bring them to me so that they know they are redeemable.” He holds his disciples accountable by reminding them that everyone has a seat at the table. 

I’m often challenged by this same invitation that Christ extends to me.

I seek to understand that solidarity is neither stingy nor selfish. My love for my neighbors should be neither exclusive nor empty. When I become a participant in the sacrifice of the Mass, I must attend that banquet knowing that while I am loved by the Father individually, His love is not offered exclusively. Rather, this love fills and overflows wicker baskets, multiplied and shared so that everyone called by name can gather around the altar and bask in the Savior’s inclusivity and mercy.

On a Wednesday afternoon at this Chili’s restaurant, I saw so many parallels in these men’s stories to today’s Gospel message. These men, who were once faces in a crowd, came to the Lord for mercy. As a result, they established a prisoner re-entry house in San Diego county that allows formerly incarcerated men to achieve sobriety, find employment, live securely, and pursue a life without crime. Now, people currently in prison seek out their organization. When released, they come to this house where they are welcomed and invited into a life of redemption.

I believe that I am being written into this same mission where Christ isn’t just multiplying food; He is multiplying faith. And I am called to open my arms — free of judgment and selfish motives — to walk with thousands of women, men, and children and trust in the God of miracles. 


Maddy Bass is a simple gal with a big childlike heart. As a full-time student at the University of San Diego, with a passion for faith, art, culture and the intersection of the three, she strives to be a bearer of the Good News in the digital age. She is always on the hunt for stories worth sharing, underrated coffee shops, thrift store deals, and opportunities to be intentional. Find out more about her here

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  • Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

  • Maddy,
    Wonderfully written and very insightful. If you had written it last week, I would have used it for my Sunday homily. Love, Uncle Pat

    Rev. Patrick J Murphy.

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