A call to end hunger

Reflection on the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Times

By Joyce Rothermel

The readings for this Sunday:

Hosea 6:3-6
Romans 4:18-25
Matthew 9:9-13

On Monday of this week, leaders of over 40 of our nation’s diverse faiths and more than 1,500 people from across the U.S. (including a bus load of people from southwestern Pennsylvania) will gather at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on the vigil of National Hunger Awareness Day, June 7 for an Interfaith Convocation on Hunger. They are expected to bring greater awareness to the issue of hunger in America and around the world. In a spirit of prayer, participants will call on the President of the U.S. and members of Congress to join Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other religious leaders to lead a new national commitment to end hunger. Never before in the history of our country has such a large and diverse group of religious leaders been assembled to address the pain of so many.

Today’s readings also talk about a call. Matthew responded and aligned himself with Christ. The first stop on Matthew’s journey following Christ was to a dinner table. When the Pharisees ask Jesus why he eats with sinners and tax collectors, he demonstrates that all deserve a place at the table. Matthew witnesses this sensitivity of Jesus who makes sure there is room for everyone. In our world wounded by poverty and hunger today, surely Jesus is calling us to share; those who can must help.

As William J. Byron, SJ states: “All creation is a table God sets to meet the needs of men and women everywhere and at all times. Everyone has a faith-based human right to be there. The promise that Abraham and his descendants would inherit the world was not based in law but on the righteousness of faith, Paul says. Faith-committed Christians are called to do what they can do to make sure that all their brothers and sisters in the human community….receive their share of the inheritance, have their place at the table, and enjoy their portion of the meal.

How are we responding to God’s call today? On Tuesday, many will join with those who worshiped the night before at the National Cathedral at the MCI Center to prepare for lobbying visits to the offices of their U.S. Senators and Representatives. The faith expressed in word and prayer at the Interfaith Convocation, will be transformed into action as the message of the service for a new national commitment to end hunger is carried to our national political leaders.

We, too, can join our faith and our voices to theirs. Visit the web sites ofAmerica’s Second Harvest and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to learn more about the problem of hunger facing children, the elderly, the disabled and the working poor in our country today. Discover ways to take action and then follow Christ with the help you can give.

(Reflections of William J. Byron, S.J. are found in the book, “Hunger for the Word: Lectionary Reflections on Food and Justice for Year A” edited by Larry Hollar.)

Joyce Rothermel is a member of St. James Parish Community in Wilkinsburg where she serves on the Social Justice and Peace Committee. Joyce leads the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, whose mission is to help to eliminate hunger in southwestern Pennsylvania.