1st Week of Advent, Wednesday, Dec 2

Isaiah 25:6-10 / Matthew 15:29-37

The Lord will feast his people: He will wipe away all tears.


Pulitzer prize winning author Thornton Wilder wrote a novel called The Eighth Day. It’s about a good and decent family whose lives are filled with pain, sorrow, and hardship—caused by evil people. Wilder ends his novel without alleviating or resolving the family’s tragic situation.

  He shows no heroes being rewarded and no villains being punished. There is, however, one hint of hope. Wilder likens the family’s plight to a tapestry. Looked at from one side, it’s ugly. Looked at from the other side, it’s beautiful. It just depends of your viewpoint. “In other words,” Wilder seems to say, “from our viewpoint in this life, the family’s misfortune is ugly. But from God’s viewpoint in the next life, the family’s misfortune is beautiful.”


How deep is our faith in Scripture’s promise that God will someday wipe away all our tears? What soap is for the body tears are for the soul?”  Jewish Proverb.


Jesus fed them.

Scholars sometimes point out that Jesus' ministry involved three stages. The first stage was his Galilean ministry. It ended in a meal for 5,000 Jews. (Mk 6:44). The second stage was his ministry to the Decapolis, or "Ten Towns." It ended in a meal for 4,000 Gentiles. (Mark 8:8). The third stage was his Jerusalem ministry. It ended in the Last Supper. Each meal, or "messianic banquet," was a promise and a foretaste of the eternal banquet of heaven. (Luke 22:16) 


For Isaiah, the sign of the messianic times is that through the Messiah God will give to his people an abundance of food and drink. People long for life, for peace. Prisoners want to be free, the blind want to see, the hungry want bread. But likewise, people hunger for consolation, friendship, forgiveness, understanding, acceptance, and justice. These desires are fulfilled when Jesus, the Messiah comes. He gives food to his hungry people. And we, his disciples, have to satisfy the hunger of God’s people today. For he acts through us.


To what extent do we look upon the Eucharist as a foretaste of the eternal banquet of heaven?  Lord, you spread the table before me; you anoint my head my head with oil (Ps 23:5)


Some hotels and restaurants offer a buffet meal or even an ala carte buffet for a fixed price. That means that we can eat all we want and eat all we can for just one price. Some may think that it is value for money and that it is worth it. But there is only so much we can eat and we can't pack any of the food home. But even if we have eaten our fill, or maybe even over-ate, does that mean that we have been fully satisfied and that that we won't be eating for a long time more to come? Certainly not. We will be hungry again and then maybe we will head for the buffet spread again, if that is what we really desire. So, in other words, there seems to be a longing that can't be fulfilled or satisfied.
The 1st reading talks about a mountain where the Lord of hosts will prepare a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines. But at the time the passage of the 1st reading was written, there was war and the danger of being captured or killed by the enemy. Even if there was a banquet of rich food and fine wines, there will be no appetite to eat because there was no peace and one can't even eat in peace.

But the 1st reading gives a hope that one day the people will be at peace and dine at the banquet of rich food and fine wines. It was a real hope because it was the promise of God.

And in the gospel, that promise was fulfilled in Jesus who fed the hungry crowd on the mountain top, a meal in which they ate all they wanted.

That brings us back to our Advent preparation. We are preparing to celebrate a promise fulfilled and also a promise that will be fulfulled.

So despite the woes and troubles and anxieties of the present time, we look forward with hope when we will be at the heavenly banquet of rich food and fine wines, where we will rejoice eternally because God has wiped away the tears from every cheek, and nothing more shall we want.


Opening Prayer

God of all people,

you know how people hunger and thirst

for truth, love and acceptance.

If we accept you and believe in you

we see our deepest trust and aspirations

being fulfilled by you

as we work for the coming of your kingdom.

Help us to let the cup that you pour for us

overflow on all your people,

that all may praise you

now and for ever.