Matthew 14:13-21 There Is No Need for Them To Go Away
Just two days ago, fifteen Anglican bishops wrote a letter to the clergy of the church of England voicing their concerns over the crisis in the Church of England - a crisis of faith, morals, Scripture and Gospel truth. They began with a quote from Scripture: “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you, but I will tell you the good and proper way.” (1 Samuel 12:23) The Church of England is collapsing before our very eyes. Why? Because they have gone astray in their teachings!
The disciples told Jesus, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” First of all, it is remarkable how arrogant the disciples are as they tell Jesus what he should do. Second, they are not capable of telling the Lord what they truly feel: tired! They are exhausted and they want the crowd to disappear, and they have found a good excuse – a “believable”, almost admirable, excuse for dismissing the people. Third, they want the Lord to do things their way. They want to hear what they want to happen.
This is similar to our first reading. Jeremiah is introduced to the prophet Hananiah. He tells the people what they want to hear: they will no longer be slaves to the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. But Hananiah was a false prophet. He was not a man after the Lord’s heart but a man after the people’s heart, money, and esteem! Hananiah was a false prophet because HE WAS WRONG! He was a "successful" false prophet because he said what the Jews wanted to hear and not what they needed to hear.
What is the reason for Israel’s captivity? Simple: Disobedience to the Lord. They were no longer living according to the Lord’s statutes (Ps 119: 68). The Jews had not forgotten them, they had disregarded them. “Get with the times Holy Father...Catholic Church!” How often do we hear these words in reference to the Church’s commandments and the Lord’s decrees? Every year, thousands of new churches open for business, preaching a gospel that is not from the Lord, but from the crowd! It is not difficult to feel good, be inspired and create an emboldened generation of false worshippers and believe that it all comes from God!
But false prophets are always struck down. Their glory comes to an end. The Jews remain forever. Only the bad Egyptians are washed away.
Let us rise to the occasion and sing the psalm of the psalmist: “Remove from me the way of falsehood…Take not the word of truth from my mouth…Let my heart be perfect in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame…For your ordinances is my hope. I pay heed to your decrees for you have instructed me” by the words of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.