Family is critically important to Israelites. Family went beyond
the nuclear family and included what we would call today the extended
family. One’s first responsibility was to family – I
think most of us would say that today too. In the first reading
we hear of the Israelites celebrating that the Ark of the Covenant
is in its final resting place in the City of David. The end of the
reading says that David distributed bread, meat and cake to every
man and woman. Food was a symbol of care, concern and nurturing.
Though our translation makes it sound like they all left with their
food and went home. They did not. They all ate together. Banquets
were a symbol of unity and celebration and it would have been rude
to leave before the meal was eaten. The New Jerusalem translation
makes this much clearer.
The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World reminds us “Since the ultimate vocation of humanity is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every person the possibilities of being associated with the paschal mystery” (Gaudium et Spes n. 22).
By the very nature of our being human and created in God’s likeness we are brothers and sisters. Each one of us is a living part of all our brothers and sisters as members of the Body of Christ. If Christ is the object of our faith and our love, then every person should also be the object of our love.
Once we recognize the oneness of all humanity, the Family of God, then we will notice that our brothers and sisters need many things: bread, medicine, education, justice, work, security, peace. If we read the Gospels we will find that Jesus had compassion and understanding for these needs and he even performed miracles to satisfy them. God has made each of us wondrously unique so that together we can meet the needs of all and build up the Body of Christ. Jesus teaches us how to give of ourselves without counting the cost, without seeking to attract attention or to satisfy our own self-interest.
LORD, we no longer know how to live as brothers and sisters.
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