August 3, 2008 18th Sunday Year A

Scripture: Isaiah 55:1-3
Ps.145
Rom.8:35-39
Matt.14:13

We humans can see and feel the 'meat' on our bodies, but we also have a soul, a spirit, a heart ? which we can not feel or see. Our bodies easily feel hunger and thirst and we can easily satisfy these. But sometimes we pay no heed, or even suppress the hungers and thirsts of our soul or spirit. What can satisfy this need.

Saint Augustine as a youth rejected his mother's faith, and led a life devoted to pleasure, making money and personal fame. He went to Mass in Milan to study the style of Ambrose's oratory. But then he found the content of Bishop Ambrose's sermons was striking a chord in his heart. Only God himself can satisfy all the needs of a human heart. Augustine at 33 was baptized. He wrote: 'O Lord my God, you made the human heart to be in tune with You. Therefore our hearts can not find true satisfaction and peace until we rest in you.'

But who is this God?  What is He like?  In the human Jesus we see the heart of God.  Let us look at today's Gospel.  Jesus' cousin and friend, John the Baptist, is killed.  Jesus felt this death deeply.  God understands our sorrow ? He has experienced it.  Then Jesus sees the crowd and is deeply moved with compassion.  He sees their thirst and hunger of spirit. The Greek verb for 'deeply moved with compassion' (splanchnizomai) is a very, very strong word used by or of Jesus 9 times.

It is a deep inner emotion, an earthquake (scale 7) of the heart, it is a massive flood of love. That deeply compassionate God is the only one who can satisfy the longings of the human heart. Let us like Augustine, rest in Him. Let us answer his invitation to a fest for the heart.