There are over 500 restaurants in McAllen. Folks come from Brownsville, Falfurrias, Mexico to eat at some of the finest dinning places available. We have a good reputation of great places to eat.
However, the crowd that followed Jesus up the mountain had no options. About five thousand in number. The crowd was captured by the message of Jesus that they forgot about the time. Regardless of culture, language, economic status—we all have to eat. Our body reminds us that in order to sustain life, we have to eat and drink. Jesus had preached, taught about the Kingdom and cured the sick. He also wanted to take care of the ordinary needs of the people—He desired to feed them lunch. Hospitality runs deep in the Hebrew Scriptures. We are not supposed to send someone away hungry. Memories from childhood come to mind. Knocks at our door. No one was ever turned away—a sandwich, clothes, a drink of water. Although we didn’t have much, we were taught to share. Look at what happened when a little boy was willing to share his food. Jesus could have snapped His fingers, clapped His hands or just said the word and everyone would have had something to eat. The Lord wanted to work through people. The miracle was never forgotten because everyone participated. There were no spectators—everyone had a part. The little boy shared his lunch. The disciples were busy distributing the abundance of fish and loaves. Every person shared in the feast, everyone ate. No one asked about worthiness, about citizenship, not even about religion. The feast was clearly a preview of the Eucharist, a preview of the Heavenly Banquet.
Jesus compared heaven to a Banquet, particularly a wedding feast. When we attend a banquet, usually we have a relationship with the person or persons being honored. Music, dancing and plenty to eat. A banquet is a celebration out of the ordinary—using elements with which are familiar, like food and drink, in order to help us transcend into another reality. Our spirits are uplifted and we don’t want the banquet to end.
That’s what happened to the people who followed Jesus up the mountain. They were enchanted by Jesus. They fell in love with Him. Frankly, they could not get enough of Him. The people ate their fill of the loaves and the fish, but they wanted more of Jesus. So much so, that the Lord knew that they were going to come and carry him off, so He withdrew—a nice way of saying that He got away as fast as He could. Perhaps the people wanted to possess Him. Some religions continue to think that they can possess God—that they own Him. Think again—God owns us—but He leaves us free. A negative temptation is to try to possess someone. Nothing belongs to us, not even our family. All is borrowed. We can never claim to deserve because everything is a gift. Consider that our life is much like the walk up the mountain. We want to fall in love with Jesus Christ, not to manipulate Him, but to share Him with others. There are countless “freebies” along the way. We are given blessing upon blessing. Remember to gather the leftovers. What we do not need, someone else might appreciate. Much gets thrown away in our society. We have a “throw away” culture because we live in a land of plenty. Time to look at the source from whom all good things come and to say, “Thank you.”
The beauty of our relationship with Christ is that we can always come back for more. Jesus will never stop loving us. One day He will make us totally happy in the Banquet that will never end.