Wednesday, December 2, 2015 ~ First Week in the Season of Advent
Holy Gospel: Matthew 15:29-37 At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel. Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him,
“Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.
Meditation: When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus, himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek him. The gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover. In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. God knows our needs better than we do, and he cares to provide for what we “need” versus what we “want” – there is a difference. When God gives, he gives in abundance. The gospel account records that the leftovers from the miraculous meal was more than seven times the amount they began with. Seven is a symbol of completion and wholeness. When God gives, he gives until we are satisfied. When God works for his people he gives abundantly – more than we could deserve and more than we need. He nourishes us with his life-giving word and with the bread of heaven. In the kingdom of heaven God will feast us at his banquet table. Are you satisfied with what God provides for you? If not, wh not?
Prayer: Look with favor, Lord God, on our petitions, and in our trials grant us your compassionate help, that, consoled by the presence of your Son, whose coming we now await, we may be tainted no longer by the corruption of former ways. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Who can satisfy the deepest hunger and longing of our human hearts? Isaiah prophesied that God would provide a heavenly banquet for all peoples and would destroy death once and for all (Isaiah 25:6-8). Jesus came to fulfill that promise. Jesus’ miracles are both a sign of God’s kingdom and a demonstration of God’s power. They also show the magnitude of God’s love, mercy and compassion for us. Challenging as it may be for some of us during this Christmas shopping season, let’s look at what we really need – and perhaps shifting our focus toward the needs of others, and less on what “I want.”