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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ " Heart to Heart" ~ Rev. Jim Schmitmeyer

We are in a deserted place,” said the apostles to the Lord.

I recognize the setting.

It feels like home.

A deserted place,

an arid region,

a land of dust and wind.

My home.

Population density: 1.7 persons per square mile.

Average income: $30,000.00.

Poverty level: Sixteen percent.

“Dismiss the crowd,” insists the disciples.

“Give them some food,” demands the Lord.

Some commentators suggest that the miracle

of feeding five thousand men

consisted of food “miraculously” appearing

from hidden pouches within the folds

of flowing garments.

We have nothing,” explained the apostles.

“Nothing but five loaves and two fish.”

These scholars overlook the word, “nothing.”

Have they not traveled in deserted places?

Clearly, they have they not lived in houses

with warped floors

and needles in the trash.

“Dismiss the crowd.”

The sun beats down.

“Dismiss them.”

A child wails.

“Dismiss them.”

The facile explanation of such scholars

mirrors a factual dismissal:

in the parched land of an affluent society,

is it hunger for God, not food, that is hidden?

Thus, the deserted setting takes center stage…

as it always has and always will.

For, in Hebrew, the word wilderness

is composed the same consonants as the word, to speak.

The haunting poetry echoes strongest in the Book of Hosea:

I will allure her into the wilderness,” says the Lord,

and there I will speak tenderly to her heart.”

Following the account of this miracle

in the Gospel of St. Mark,

Jesus, in exasperation, asks, “Do you still not understand?”

Do we understand?

Do we understand that the longing for bread

is really a longing for God?

Do we understand that the wilderness trail

leads to the table of Christ

where, in our hunger,

we dare place our ear against his chest

to hear the beating

of God’s own heart?

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