Bishop Basil (Nesterenko)


Glory to Jesus Christ, dear brothers and sisters!

Today we have heard the Gospel of Matthew (Mt., XIV:14-22), where it is said how Jesus got the news about the cruel execution of John the Baptist; so He went to desolate place by himself to pray. But it did not happen, because people already knew about Him, they knew that He could heal. So many people followed Him. There were five thousand men, besides women and children. At that time people counted only men, so there were also about five thousand children and women. A great crowd followed Jesus.

And we see how He taught and healed them. Most of them came because of healings. And Jesus showed mercy and healed all sick people. At the same time He preached and told the Knowledge of His Father during all day. That is why in the evening His disciplines thought that people were hungry and they needed something to eat. But we know that the Lord never leaves His people and always takes care about them. Do you remember how God gave manna to His people in the Old Testament? He fed them all the time. And who lives with God will never be alone.

That time it happened the same way. Disciplines brought to Jesus only five loaves and two fish. He prayed, blessed and gave that food to His Apostles. And the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

And here I want to pay your attention on bread. Bread is a holy product; a special attention is given to it in the Gospel. We are not full only with bread, but we depend on it physically; we have to take and eat it. And during our time we have a paradox: we live in a civilized world, but still so many people do not eat enough and starve to death. We can see it especially in Africa.

At the same time in the civilized world people overeat. We see how many people suffer with obesity. They can’t stop when they are full. They eat much more they need to. And we see the attitude towards bread. How much bread people just throw out?! Recently I have read an article about the amount of food, which people throw out. It is too much. I think it is possible to feed all people who do not eat enough with that amount of food.

And our Ukraine is not an exception. Our people also throw a lot of food, especially after some celebrations. People prepare a lot of food; they do not have enough time to eat everything, because it goes bad. They even throw bread out of windows as if they feed birds. But they throw rusks, which nobody eats and people just walk on it. It is an awful situation.

And it happens despite the fact that our people overcame a terrible famishment. It seems that we genetically must have thrifty attitude and special love to bread. But we see that we do not have it. What does it show? It shows the lack of spirituality of that people who disrespect bread. Someone considers that bread has to be expensive, that people do not throw it out. But, my dear, bread becomes more costly and people’s attitude does not change. Because we do not have that spirituality, which is needed now especially to our people.

But to my mind the main thing in this Gospel is not that physical bread, which Jesus Christ used to feed Israelites. The main is that spiritual bread. They were thirsty to the Knowledge of Jesus Christ and He gave them it. Later He gave it through Hid disciplines, who multiplied His Knowledge. They walked all over the world and preached about His living, vital and spiritual bread. And all Christians after Apostles, who sincerely believed in God, who preached this Gospel all over the world, fed all thirsty and hungry people with spiritual food.

We are also like Apostles have the opportunity to preach God’s word. And there are so many people, who really need this spiritual food. So, let’s use this chance as long as we have it. Give spiritual food to people, who want it. And then we will enter Heavenly Kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ like just people.

Let the Lord save you!