Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wednesday in the 1st Week of Advent
Joyful Feeding

Readings: Isaiah 25:6-10a; Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Matthew 15:29-37

Singaporeans are known for our appreciation of good food. We may not all be gourmets in the strict sense but many are happy to follow Gurmit Singh and Michelle Chia on their quest for all the Lost Makan Places. Many of us are willing to go that extra kilometer to find the tastier char kuay teow, the crispier prata, or the flakier curry puff. We know how to enjoy good food.

And isn’t this what is described in our readings today: the joys of the Messianic banquet that God prepares for his hungry people? The Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food… fine wines… Even more, we see that promise being fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus in the gospel. They all ate as much as they wanted… Isn’t this what we are waiting and longing for especially in the season of Advent? Isn’t this the ultimate lost makan place for which all peoples yearn?

Still, we must be careful not to let the metaphor of feeding and feasting lead us to trivialize the depth and breadth of God’s promise and its fulfillment. This is not just any carefree jaunt to the neighborhood hawker centre. Rather is it the fulfillment of everything for which humanity longs: the end of hunger and disease, of terror and conflict, death and destruction, the coming of true peace and harmony, community and communion, when God will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples and the shroud enwrapping all nations. This is the joyful feast for which we wait.

But isn’t there something more in our readings today? The joy of the banquet is not experienced only by those who are fed. As those who cook and serve at table can attest, great joy is also to be found in the feeding of others. And isn’t this the joy which the disciples of Jesus find themselves drawn to share? By offering their own meager resources of seven loaves and a few small fish, they find themselves privileged to partake in the divine joy of the One who feeds all on his holy mountain.

How is God inviting us to feed and to be fed at His banquet today?

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