St. Dominic Catholic Church

2002 Merton Ave | Los Angeles, CA 90041 | (323) 254-2519


Our Deepest Hunger 2020-8-2 18th Sun. Yr. A Fr. Roberto



Homily for 18th Sunday Year A 
August 2, 2020
St. Dominic Parish, Los Angeles, CA
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP

Title: Our Deepest Hunger
Theme: What is our deepest hunger? How do we feed that hunger?
Readings: Isaiah 55:1-3; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21

I have preached to you all before that when I was a young man, my life’s dream was to play professional basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers. That dream fed my heart and soul from the time I was 10 years old until after I graduated from college. It was what I hungered for more than anything else in life. 

Well, as you can see, I never became a Laker; I never realized that dream. Now I’m in my sixties, and, as I stand here before you, I can’t even impress you by spinning the basketball on my finger the way I used to years ago. To be honest, I have not even played a basketball game in years – and that’s okay because my dreams have changed, what I hunger for has changed, what feeds me has changed.

What I dream about now is not to be able to slam dunk a basketball; now as a priest, and especially as pastor of this parish, I dream about being able to help Catholics and others become disciples of Jesus Christ and how to take a parish community to a higher level of commitment to its faith. That’s what motivates me; that’s what feeds me now!

But in some ways, what I have hungered for all my life has not really changed after all. You see, I think what I have really hungered for all my life is the same thing that each of us hungers for deep down inside. If we are really honest with ourselves, I believe what we all ultimately hunger for is meaning: we want our lives to mean something; we want to have a purpose for being here in this world. And I would say that all our readings today present an invitation for us to feed that basic hunger we have.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives the people a lot: he heals them, he teaches them and then he feeds more than 5,000 men, women and children. But this Gospel is not merely about Jesus giving a lot of people some bread and fish for dinner on one occasion, and it’s not merely about Jesus healing a lot of them from their sicknesses – as amazing as all those miracles must have been! This Gospel is primarily about Jesus giving these people what they most needed and hungered for: meaning and purpose in their lives. 

In spite of their poverty and their oppression at the hands of the Romans and the upper class, in spite of the drudgery of their everyday humdrum lives, in spite of their continued problems, sufferings and unanswered questions, what Jesus gave them was the hope that their lives meant something to someone. In other words, Jesus showed them that they mattered to God and were loved by him.

And in doing this, Jesus fulfilled what the prophet Isaiah had said 600 years earlier in today’s first reading. There, the prophet speaks on God’s behalf offering an invitation to his contemporaries who have lived through the annihilation of Jerusalem and their beloved temple and who are now in exile in Babylonia. Through Isaiah God tells them in so many words: “I know you have suffered much, but I want you to know that I still love you and your lives still have meaning. Are you hungry to understand the meaning of your lives in spite your current circumstances? Then come to me and feed yoursels and be satisfied! Find what you are looking for. You don’t need money to buy what I have to offer – it’s free, all you have to do is ask for it.” And God and Jesus offer the same invitation to us today: “Do you want meaning and purpose in your life? Do you want life itself? Then come to me.”

Our readings today challenge us to ask ourselves two important questions. The first one is, “What do I really, really hunger for in my life?” I believe that if we are truly honest with ourselves, we will realize that our deepest hunger is not for anything money can buy – however nice that thing might be. And it’s not anything physical we want deep in our hearts – it is beyond physicality, it is much deeper than that. It is a craving in our hearts to find a love that will give meaning and purpose to our lives. Am I right or am I wrong? Think about it.

The second question our readings call us to ask ourselves is the more challenging and difficult one: “How am I satisfying that deep hunger I have?” I think we really need to grapple with this question because so often we waste a lot of time and energy in our lives chasing after the wrong things to satisfy that deep, deep hunger in our hearts. And that is precisely what God says through Isaiah in the first reading: “Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy?” I imagine God asks us that question a lot because so often we think: “If I just had the right job, the right partner, if only my family were less dysfunctional, if I just had a nicer house, if only I could have the perfect body, or the security of a good retirement plan or enough insurance, if only I could win the lottery…then I would find happiness, peace and fulfillment.” These are all good things in and of themselves, and it is okay to work hard to get them. But none of them – not even all of them together – can ever really satisfy our deepest hunger.

And that is because, my brothers and sisters, no thing, no person, no relationship, no success, nothing at all can give you and me the meaning, the purpose, the happiness, peace and love that all of us long for – only God can fill that God-sized hole in our hearts. Only God!