"I was hungry and you gave me food." Mt 25:35
Hunger is a powerful teacher. When people are really hungry, even starving, it is very hard to listen to others, much less learn. Hunger, like anger or a chronic illness, gets in the way of everything else. Trying to teach hungry people is like trying to put one more ounce of water in a glass that is already full. No matter how skilled the teacher, when people are hungry new insights and knowledge are wasted. There is no room in the hungry person for anything new or transformative.
Jesus knew his Jewish antagonists were more concerned with undermining his authority than with the integrity of the Torah. Hungry to maintain their influence and power over the people, they wanted only to find fault with Jesus and his followers. They were not interested in the hunger the disciples had, but only wanted to undermine their teacher.
In many ways, we already know this. When we are physically hungry or we are hungry for companionship, friendship and love, we can settle for almost anything, even though our minds know that our need is getting in the way of our good sense. Because we are so hungry, we can't listen to anything or anyone. The misplaced hunger of the Jewish leaders condemned them, and it will do the same to us if we want only to be right.
Today, don't be afraid to ask for the "bread of life" to feed you with good sense and hope.
What kinds of hungers block you from living the Gospel?