Jesus answers all the hungers of our heart

I was celebrating a wedding in Saint Columb’s Church in Chapel Road last Saturday afternoon.

I was celebrating a wedding in Saint Columb’s Church in Chapel Road last Saturday afternoon.

During the course of the ceremony I told the story of how the newly married couple got engaged. I had to give the groom credit because he took his future bride away for the weekend to Lough Eske Hotel in Donegal - although it also transpired he had a gift voucher to use up.

What unfolded was a complete surprise because the unsuspecting woman later complained she didn’t even have her hair or nails done to post engagement photos on Facebook.

On the Saturday afternoon the anxious male had organised for the pair of them to set off on a cycle. Her fiancée had planned to propose in the shadow of trees beside the gleaming waters of the lake which sounded lovely until, because he was so nervous, he spilled water all over himself.

All the local teacher could do was laugh because it looked as if her partner had wet himself. Obviously the moment was ruined and like the Tour De France our couple set off round the lake and stopped a few more times looking for an isolated spot to enjoy peace and quiet.

In the end the poor man was running out of options and had to choose the only romantic location he could find, which was known locally as ‘the side of the road’. The Waterside woman complained how the man from the cityside didn’t as much get down on one knee but just genuflected. You have to make allowances, remembering the future groom’s movements were restricted because he was wearing wet jeans.

In last weekend’s Gospel reading, the disciples and Jesus, in a similar fashion, find themselves at the side of a lake searching out an isolated and deserted place to enjoy rest and find time to eat. Out of concern Jesus leads his disciples towards the desert wilderness to be by themselves. It is in the margins, in the isolated and deserted place that the people discover Jesus. In the desert those who are starving and hunger for meaning, find true refreshment.

Jesus, in revealing the face of God, is the answer to all the hungers of our hearts and our thirst for companionship and meaning. Jesus, as the true shepherd desires to protect and guide his flock. As disciples we have been invited to be fed and watered through Jesus’ presence in his word and his sacraments.

As Jesus’ sheepfold the Church has been challenged to guide and protect humanity in the face of greed, violence and exploitation. The church has been commissioned to guide all peoples through the desert of loneliness and despair by revealing God’s true Word.