By Lori Ubowski
It’s impossible to turn on the television or stroll through your favorite store without running into the promise of “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” or other interchangeable phrases designed to instill reassurance that even if we ultimately regret our latest impulse-buy all will be well and no permanent harm done. Similarly, today’s readings are filled with narratives guiding us to seek the Lord, promising fulfillment, satisfaction, nourishment, and life found in Him.
Rich in story-telling and wisdom, leaving me filled with much “food for thought” (#seewhatididthere), I began to reflect and pray about how these readings speak to my heart and inspire me to share. It was difficult to know where to start as I connected with themes of thirst, hunger, and was once again reminded of the amazing story of the multiplying of the loaves and fishes found in the Gospel reading (Matthew 14:13-21). This story especially hit me as I thought about the large crowds who flocked to Jesus, following him on foot from long distances and going for long periods without physical food because of their need for spiritual food.
They desired truth and certainty, a guarantee that there is more than just this life in front of them.
Satisfy Our Hunger
In these unprecedented times, I feel that as we face the most global uncertainty most of us have experienced in our lifetime, we’re all looking for that answer, the solution to quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger for reassurance and peace. We turn to this news outlet’s opinion, that politician’s plan, this government agency’s guidelines, or that medical expert’s advice. And no matter how we weigh our limited options in a situation that seems to have affected every aspect of our lives, there does not seem to be one solid answer that explains: Why? How could this happen? What do we do? What about the future? When will it end? Will everything we’ve ever known be different from now on? There is this hunger to know, to fix it, to be able to tell our family and friends it will be okay.
Like me, many of you may be experiencing fear, losing sleep, being forced to make difficult choices, missing your place of worship and your faith community, and in some cases giving up things you’ve worked for your whole life. It is heartbreaking to witness this widespread uncertainty and the division it causes. Every day, we open our phones and computers or find ourselves in conversations, colliding with opinions, and self-righteousness hurling back and forth. Everyone is right, and everyone is wrong. It’s stressful and exhausting, and humanity is suffering in so many ways because of this overwhelming doubt and fear separating us from the body of Christ.
It all sounds pretty bleak, but this good news from today’s second reading (Romans 8:35, 37-39) gives my heart hope: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wow, let that soak in for a second. What a relief, and what a timely reminder! Be encouraged, friends! Our Lord and Savior is not abandoning us during this unsettling time, and nothing we’re facing right now can separate us from Him. Whether our thirst and hunger be a famine of finance, personal interaction, normalcy, relationships, employment, mental health, faith, or physical health, he alone, forever and always, remains the quench to our thirsts and the satisfaction to our hunger— Guaranteed.
About the author:
Lori Ubowski is a Catholic musician, speaker, and author. She is part of the duo, Out of Darkness, leading worship with her husband, Adam. She recently co-authored Side By Side: A Catholic Mother-Daughter Journal (Ave Maria Press) with her daughter, Ava, and is a contributing writer in Our Friend Faustina (Marian Press).