"They all ate and were satisfied" (Matt 15:37).
Gandhi once said that if God were to appear in the world, it would be as bread.
Universal hunger is our most common and pervasive need. A walk through any urban commercial district reveals the number of eating places, for people are eating all the time. The experience of hunger ranges from impulsive desire for oral satisfaction to chronic pangs that are the constant preoccupation of millions people in our world. Wealth, someone observed, is the power to eat, and health, normal development and a productive life depend on balanced nutrition. Food insufficiency in any region or nation stunts growth and wastes human potential in incalculable ways that cannot be measured because we will never know what was lost.
It may seem odd to again tell the story of Jesus multiplying bread fish as we enter the Advent season. God's decision to share our flesh in Jesus was also to share our most basic longings. Jesus, who came as light into the darkness of history, also came as bread from heaven. His first need at birth and the cause of his first human cry was to be nourished at his mother's breast. So he began a lifetime of sharing our common hungers, for food, warmth and contentment. The reign of God he preached was described as a feast, a welcoming table for all, and his parables returned again and again to food, the promise of sufficiency, abundant life shared within the beloved community.
Advent invites us to focus our hunger on Christ, to sharpen our desire for the fullness only he can provide. God knows the human side of need. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.