Faith Daily |2 August 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p568
whose beloved Son for our sake
willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross:
give us courage and patience
to take up our cross daily and follow him;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 14: 13-21
13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Peter Brady
Excluding the Resurrection, the feeding of the multitude is the only one of Christ's miracles to be recorded in all four Gospels. The early church obviously considered it of crucial importance. Given all the underlying stories this is not surprising.
It confirms Jesus's authority through multiple allusions to the Old Testament; the feeding of Israel in the wilderness during the Exodus, Elisha's feeding miracle in 2 Kings and Isaiah's invitation to the thirsty. There is Jesus's compassion for the crowd; healing them, not dismissing them away and ensuring their needs are met- as the Good Shepherd - feeding them. It is an abundance story; demonstrating (again) that God provides in the face of a seemingly impossibly large problem. And, of course, there is the overtone to the Eucharist in the blessing and breaking of the bread.
The reaction of the crowd is also remarkable. It is late, they are hungry, yet they remain transfixed by Jesus and want to stay with him. They trust Him, follow his instruction to sit and wait and receive more than they need several times over.
Like the crowd we must trust Christ and follow his instructions. In fact more, we need to follow his example and not only display compassion for all but act on that compassion by giving them what they need. And that means bringing to them the good news of Christ.
God of our hopes and dreams, we are empty, and long to be filled; we are hungry, and long to be fed; we are lost, and long to be found. Gather us into your love, and pick up the pieces of our lives, just as Jesus gathered up the fragments of the five loaves and two fish that remained after feeding the five thousand. Call us anew to eat our fill and to find our true nourishment in Jesus, the bread of heaven. Amen