Fr. Scott’s Corner – A Small Price to Pay
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
This is perhaps one of the most famous quotes in American history. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Essentially, it means that everything we receive has a price attached to it in some way. These aren’t always monetary prices, of course. It can also mean the loss of our time or another opportunity.
This is an idea that I have pondered much of my adult life. Is it possible that nothing is truly free? As I read through this month’s readings, this quote again came to mind. After all, God fed the Israelites quail and manna in the desert. Jesus fed over 5,000 people on the hillside outside of Jerusalem. Were these not in fact “free meals”—something given by God to his people without any cost attached?
In one of this month’s Gospels, the people had just been fed by Jesus, eating until they were full. Jesus leaves the people so that he can continue to proclaim the good news, but when he disembarked from the boat, these people gathered once again, asking to be fed. Jesus says to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”
This encounter gave Jesus an opportunity to teach those who gathered. He invited them to see God’s love for them from a new perspective. Even now, he invites us, just as he invited those gathered there that day, to seek food that will give us everlasting life. The people heard Jesus and asked for this kind of bread. Jesus replied: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
He is all we need and more.
When we come to Jesus and place our trust in Him, he will not only care for us, heal us and forgive us, but he will also feed our deepest hungers and desires. He is all we need and more.
So maybe the saying is true. Maybe everything does have a price attached to it. God, in feeding the Israelites, did ask for something in return. Jesus also asks for something in return each time we come to him in the Eucharist. He asks for our faithfulness, our gratitude, and our willingness to do unto others as he has done for us. This is truly a small price for the benefits the Lord provides!
During the month of August, I hope you will look at all the Lord has given to you and know that all that is asked in return is your faithfulness, your gratitude, and your willingness to do unto others as Christ has done for you. This lunch might not be free, but it’s certainly a good deal!