Today the readings from Scripture offer two themes for our Catholic life – living and journeying.
Living brings to mind our now, our existence, our present moment. St Paul in the Epistle speaks of our new way of existing because we are “in Christ”.
Journeying conjures a pathway, a destination, a future. This comes from the Gospel.
The feeding of the 4000 in today’s gospel had both a present effectiveness and a future perspective.
The now, the present effectiveness, was the miraculous provision Christ made to meet the crucial human needs of all those people who had travelled to be with Him and to learn from Him. Some had journeyed quite a distance; some for three days.
The future perspective, what this miraculous meal foreshadowed, was the miraculous feeding in the Eucharist, begun by Christ on the night before His Passion and continued in His Church until this very day and this very place.
Each of us has an existential present and a future destination. This may sound an obvious statement. Often though, in the midst of living, we lose perspective and begin even to misunderstand and misrepresent even the very present, let alone have a correct perspective on the future.
Because we are baptised our living is as a child of God. This makes our living qualitatively different from those who are unbaptised. Does it? Or is our way of life much the same as our unbaptised contemporaries. I think there may be many Christians who live virtually as pagans unaware that to the very depth of their being they are different.
We have been baptised into Christ’s death and we are given the possibility through grace of living a way of life that is dead to sin. Although sin will still be in our life, it cannot have ultimate control over us if we claim our status as a child of God.
Indeed, we can place our sins, particularly our serious ones, and our grievous faults, and unruly tendencies on the Cross with Christ. They can be nailed to the Cross with Him. There they are effectively stripped of their power because of His power over sin – and death.
Equally, as a child of God, our living is to be marked by self-denial and sacrifice. These we can impose on our selves or the opportunities for them may be presented to us; sometimes just by doing our duty.
Because we are a child of God, our living will also have suffering. This will come without our wanting it or seeking it. But our acceptance of it, even our welcoming of it, allows us to grow close to Christ. He entered His glory through self-denial, suffering and sacrifice. The same is true of those who are His through Baptism.
Our future is also connected with our Baptism. Not only have we died with Christ but we also walk or journey in newness of life with Christ. Our destination is to be in the likeness of Him who rose from the dead. Our own bodies are promised resurrection.
And in His infinite love, Christ has given us all the means we require so that we may reach the promised homeland. He has given us His Church and His Sacraments and all the channels of grace.
After the general judgement, when all bodies will rise again, if our living has been in Christ and our journey has been with Christ, we will enter with body and soul re-united into the glory of heaven and the Beatific Vision.
God will be known to us completely. Without any sacramental veil, we will see God face to face. Our whole self – body, mind, spirit, will, intellect, and affections will know God and we will come to be like Him.
May our participation in this miraculous feeding, this Holy Mass today, strengthen our desire for holy living and give impetus to our faithful journeying, so that one day we may, with Our Lady and all the saints and angels be in our eternal home in heaven, where all joy and glory are made perfect.