"...Food is one of our first teachers in life. We learn through our mother’s breast, through snuggling into loving arms holding a bottle, through growing into eye contact in the midst of eating, we learn that food makes us feel better, and that food is a language of love.
If we’re lucky, as babies we got food and love in one intimate embrace, and those moments taught us to form attachments with people throughout the rest of our lives.
Jesus feeds people throughout the gospels as a declaration of love. He feeds the multitudes at the Sea of Galilee through the miracle of sharing, with loaves and fishes leftover. He breaks bread and pours wine for his friends and followers in the upper room the night before he dies, proclaiming that it is his own flesh and blood that he gives them for nourishment. There is no greater love than this. And this morning we remember how he gleans grain with the disciples and all are fed....
...we know Jesus stumbles under the unthinkable burden of the cross, and asks us to choose love and self-sacrifice in his way, and we know that is impossibly heavy. So what could he mean when he says his yoke is easy and his burden is light?
Well if we keep reading in Matthew, next comes the story of Jesus and the disciples gleaning grain on the Sabbath. The Pharisees are upset and Jesus teaches them that the Sabbath was created for us, we were not created for the Sabbath.
Jesus changes the rules, or understands the rules better than everyone else, to make the world work for people. Jesus loves us so much that he finds a way for everyone to be fed, on the hillsides at the Sea of Galilee feeding the multitudes with a few fish and some crusts of bread, Jesus changes the rules of sharing and physics to create enough for all. Before his execution Jesus turns a meal into a ritual of remembrance and radical service so that his friends and followers will always have him close. He changes the rules of life and death so that he can dwell in us, that we can be his body, anytime and anywhere.
And so it’s no big deal that Jesus changes – or at least reinterprets – religious rules about the Sabbath so that the disciples are fed in this field on this day. Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light because he loves til our hunger is fed. Jesus loves us til our thirst is quenched. Jesus loves us til our bondage is broken. Jesus loves us til our pain is soothed. And Jesus asks us to keep acting as his hands and feet in this world, to feed in his name....