August 9, 2022

Homily Three for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew - The Basic Needs of our Lives (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Homily for the Eighth Sunday of Matthew

The Basic Needs of our Lives

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves is one of the most well-known and beloved events of the life of Christ, because it shows that Christ is interested in the material problems of people, in their hunger, but also because it shows the mystery of the divine Eucharist, as the holy Fathers of the Church interpreted this passage. But today, in this short sermon, we will see another side of this subject that is important. That is, we will examine the issue, not from the side of Christ, but from the side of people.

The people of that time followed Christ to listen to His teaching and to accept His love through the healing of various diseases. The holy Evangelist writes: "Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns" (Matthew 14:13). That is, when the people heard that Christ was near, they followed Him on foot from the cities, which means the people came out of the cities and followed Christ. In fact, the place was deserted, they had no food with them and it was getting dark. All three of these elements (desert, absence of food, night) show that people preferred to listen to Christ, despite the many difficulties they faced. And as the Evangelist Matthew writes, there were five thousand men, not counting the presence of women and children. So of course the number was higher.

The issue, then, is what priorities we set in our lives: material or spiritual. This is a very important point, which shows how we live, how we behave, what is the goal of our life. There are material needs that are connected to our desires, there are biological needs that concern our body, there are psychological needs since we are looking for love and fulfillment, and there are spiritual needs since we are all looking for God.

The experts on these subjects say that the basic needs of every human being are not the material ones, but above all the need to love and be loved, and the need to feel that we have some value for ourselves and others. When these basic needs of the soul are not satisfied, man feels pain and discomfort, even if he lives in prosperity and material wealth.

In addition to these basic needs of the soul, there are also theological needs, since man is primarily a theological being, i.e. he was created by God, he wants to live with God and is led towards God. Various questions arise from this need, such as: who created us, why are we alive, where are we going, why do we die, what happens to the soul after death. There is no man who has never been occupied with such theological questions. From this basic need arose philosophy, and man's search for God. When man does not satisfy this theological need, he feels unsatisfied and like a failure in life.

The crisis we are living through is the result of the non-satisfaction of soul and theological needs. Existential psychotherapists have proven that man does not die from the lack of material goods and food, but mainly from despair and hopelessness, which are the results of the non-satisfaction of his basic soul and theological needs.

However, from today's passage it appears that the people of that time preferred to listen to Christ, without thinking about the lack of food and the desert place and eventually acquired both spiritual and material goods. We too must seek the satisfaction of our theological needs, to find Christ and obtain communion with Him in order to solve all our theological concerns.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.