Wednesday, First Week of Advent;
Is 25:6-10; Ps 22:1-6; Mt 15:29-37
JESUS’ COMPASSION FOR THE WORLD
No one who met Jesus was left untouched. They were either attracted by his love and miraculous power, or were repelled by his claim to divinity. Jesus’ miracles demonstrated the power of God and the magnitude of his mercy. In today’s Gospel, Matthew writes, “And Jesus called his disciples to him, and said, ‘I feel compassion for the multitude, because they have remained with me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not wish to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.’”
When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding thousands of people, many away from any source of food, they exclaimed: “Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” Like the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness, 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 left over.
In the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, we have a representation of God’s habitual action. God not only knows our needs but cares enough to do something about them. And when he gives, he gives in abundance.
The gospel account records that the leftovers from the miraculous meal filled seven baskets. 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 have ever needed, and more than we could ever deserve. Here, in this life, he nourishes us with his life-giving word and with the bread of heaven, a foretaste and a representation of the feast that he has prepared for us in his eternal kingdom. Do we hunger for God and thirst for the coming of his kingdom?
Responsorial Psalm: In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for length of days unending
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