Desire, Discover and Decide
What are our hungers? For those who are hungry, it is food. For those who are homeless, it is shelter. For those who are jobless, it is work. For those who are sick and whose loved ones are ill, it is healing. For those who are ignorant, it is quality education. For young people whose parents are absent, it is presence. For those who are rejected, it is acceptance.
But if we do not empathize with those who are hungry, homeless, jobless, sick, ignorant, feeling abandoned and rejected, how do we react? Go to DSWD. Go to DOLE. Go to a doctor. Go to a teacher. Go to a guidance counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. Because we are not in their shoes, we refer them to agencies and people that/who are experts. Why? Because we do not see their hungers as basic human desires but as issues to settle.
Why start hunger? Hunger is not just an issue that concerns our health, society and economy. Our hungers, when clarified, can point to a greater reality. In other words, our hungers, which can be referred to as basic human desires, can be a means to encounter God.
In the 1st Reading, God’s Chosen People experienced hunger in the desert. When things got worse, their character was also coming out. They grumbled, complained and blamed God for as if they’re being left in the desert after being freed from slavery in Egypt. In spite of their immaturity, the Lord listened by sending them food to eat. After receiving a strange food, they asked, “Manna?” (What is this?) In response, Moses said that this is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. In the midst of our hunger, God provides. Even if we complain, God still provides. Even if we lack faith, God always provides. God’s providence is an expression of His mercy.
When God responds to our own hungers/basic human desires, we want to have more from Him. This is something natural in us. Why? Because we are insatiable beings. After being satisfied, we discover that within us, we want something more. In the Gospel, this was the reaction of the crowd who, after being fed by Jesus when He multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fish, they wanted more from Jesus. They looked and followed Jesus, not because they saw that saving sign (feeding a multitude) but they saw Him as a miracle worker. Isn’t it that we sometimes go to people who can create instant solutions to our problems? Election is coming. Instead of gathering funds for a community project, others would go to a politician, an actor, or a TV personality to be a sponsor. That is the easiest thing to do to but it can still become a breeding ground for corruption. We might have acted out of a necessity but it just gives us a lot of anxiety. And Jesus never presented Himself as a miracle worker who can solve all human miseries.
After Jesus considers our desires and letting us discover who He is, the Lord leads us to make a decision. This decision is not just a matter of saying a Yes or a No. But it is based on a living and loving relationship which we call faith. After responding to their human hunger by feeding them, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” Jesus, in a way, is telling us that it is only He who can make us whole and full. Yes, we can taste and eat all kinds of food (cake, lechon, chicken cordon, etc.). But in reality, after having much, we still want more. We are not meant for satisfaction but for fulfillment. Fulfillment can only be attained if there is meaning and purpose in life. This meaning and purpose is not something but Someone: Jesus. Faith in Jesus is not just a mental abstraction; it is being in a living and loving relationship with Him.
Desire Jesus. Discover Jesus. Decide for Jesus. Yes, it can take a whole lifetime to desire, to discover and to decide for Jesus. But the key to commit oneself to Jesus as the One who can make us whole and full is in the words of St Paul in the 2nd Reading when he said, “put away the old self, corrupted through deceitful desires and… put on the new self, created in God’s way in justice and holiness of truth.”
Every time we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, our desires meet with His own desires. In a diary entry of St Teresa of Calcutta dated 25 March 1993 she writes,
“Why does Jesus say ‘I Thirst’? What does it mean? Something so hard to explain in words.” Mother Teresa went on to write, “He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes—He is the one who always accepts you. The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes—to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more—He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close.”
When we are one with Jesus, He becomes part of each one of us, of our families, of our communities and of world. For if we are created in God’s justice and holiness, this truth is gradually being realized when in the Eucharist, we become like Christ: bread, blessed and broken for this hungry world.
Are you hungry? God’s hunger is greater than ours. He hungers and thirsts for me and for you. Amen.
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