Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Book of the Prophet Isaiah 25:6-10a; Psalm 23:1-6; Matthew 15:29-37
Today's very familiar Gospel narrative provides a powerful lesson on Jesus' mission in this world and a glimpse of our own mission. As Saint Matthew notes so movingly, Jesus sat on the mountainside near the Sea of Galilee, and crowds of people brought their loved ones to Him. From all over the area, families and friends carried the people they cared most about to the place where they could be healed at the feet of Jesus.
Our Lord spent several days touching, blessing, and always loving. He made the mute speak, the deformed sound, the crippled walk, and the blind when given the ability to see. It was an incredible time, and the astonished crowd gave thanks and glory to God.
Yet, I believe that Jesus knew that His message depended on more than His ability to touch weakened bodies with His own hands. Yes, it was important for people to be cured and healed in their bodies; but His disciples' call went much deeper. He wanted the disciples to take up His work and begin to care for others as He demonstrated to them. He looked around with a loving gaze at the throngs gathered, rejoicing in the newfound health of their loved ones, and He saw that they were hungry. He said, "I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way."
Now comes the teaching moment. The disciples shrugged and said they couldn't really do much about that because the crowd was so large. In their own way, they were absolutely correct. However, in their own blindness and weakness, they couldn't see that they needed Jesus to care for others. Jesus has them gather food from the crowd and then blesses it and asks them to redistribute it. There was plenty for everyone, and the disciples cared for the entire crowd with Jesus's help.
It is our time to think of loved ones who are ill, blind, discouraged, and in need of healing. We must carry them lovingly to Jesus and ask for healing. The real work that Jesus is asking us to do is to rely on Him for help in caring for others. Today and every day, Jesus invites us to lean on Him, rely on Him, and to realize that although we can't do everything on our own, He is here for us. With our Lord's help, we can feed and help heal others and find ourselves with a new ability to see.
Question of the Day: Throughout this Advent season, how will you explore how God continues to be present in your life through His availability, His personal care, and the abundance He provides for you?
Prayer: "Behold, our Lord will come with power and will enlighten the eyes of His servants." (Is. 40:10; 35-5)