He said, “I never want to be hungry again.” His middle age paunch testified that he had not missed any meals of late. But during World War Ii, then a teenager he had known aching hunger. He was a member of Grace Lutheran church, Oshawa, Ontario where I vicared in 1965-66. His wife was the church secretary. Both had come over from Germany after World War II. She was sixteen when the Russian army came through. Her family hid her in the barn.
Most of us don’t know what it is too be hungry. Yet there are many today, victims of the policy of war in Syria, pilgrims, refugees in foreign lands. At first welcomed, then tolerated and now a problem, as the flood keeps flowing out of lost homeland and homes.
Under the strange leading of the Holy Spirit Jesus was led into the wilderness to begin his ministry. He would fast for forty days, during which time he would be tempted by the Devil, the Diabolical One. At the end of that time Luke reports, “And when they were ended, he was hungry.” It’s at this point that Matthew and Luke report some of the details of his temptation. Turn “this stone to become bread.” See, how helpful the Devil is? There are stones galore in the wilderness. But the Devil helps the starving man to concentrate. Jesus doesn’t have to make all the stones bread, just this particular one. He doesn’t need to feed 5,000, just himself. Surely the Son of God could do that little thing to help himself, to help himself help the world.
The question for us is, how can we who pray for our daily bread, share our daily bread with the hungry? Perhaps we can’t feed millions. But who can we feed? Jesus says “For I was hungry and you gave me food.” We can start with a local food pantry. We may never see the hungry person in whom Jesus is hidden, but Jesus will bless the food that feeds a family of “the least of these.”
Lord let Lent be not a time of going without, but giving to those who do go without. Amen.