The readings this morning are indicative of the two aspects of the Kingdom of God, namely the “here and now” and the “not yet”. The first reading from Isaiah the prophet (ch. 25) speaks of the future when, on the Lord’s holy mountain, all will eat rich food and drink good wine and no one will be hungry or thirsty any more. Jesus brings that vision into reality when, in Matthew 15, he takes pity on the crowds that have been following him because nobody has been thinking about eating and now it’s getting late and they’re out in a desert somewhere with no place to buy food. In one of the most familiar stories of the gospels, a few loaves and fishes become more than enough for everyone.
So is everything taken care of then? Was the miracle of Jesus that day enough to satisfy Isaiah’s vision? Not likely if we look at the statistics from around the world, or more to the point, around our own country where food pantries are hard-pressed to serve all their clients and the lines at soup kitchens get longer every day.
The psalm refrain for this morning is instructive, I believe. Psalm 23, the Good Shepherd psalm, is punctuated after each verse with the words:
I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Trusting that God’s promise is true for our ultimate destiny in the Kingdom to come but understanding that we are co-creators of that Kingdom in our day, we must follow the example of Jesus in two ways. First, we must wake up (a familiar theme in this Advent season) to the needs of those who hunger for food for their bodies or souls. Secondly, we must be willing to put ourselves out to answer the question that the apostles put to Jesus: Where would we get enough food for all these people? Living in the house of the Lord posts a challenge that calls us to mindfulness at every tick of the clock, in every encounter of our day. It seems a good day, then, to keep the psalm refrain as a companion all day, pondering how I perceive “the house of the Lord” and how I might take up residence there each day.