December 2, 2020 – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/120220.cfm)
My heart is moved with pity. The words of Jesus must have been ringing into the ears and hearts of his disciples. God is moved. God feels our pain. God feels the emptiness and longing of our hearts. The Book of Prophet Isaiah tells us about this too, “The Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.” God shall take away our pain and sadness. Again, on this first week of Advent, we take comfort in this promise of God who is with us. The journey of this Advent is to make our heart and mind more confident in God, to be more assured of God’s abiding presence in us.
Hence, the Gospel of Matthew reminds us how Jesus attended, welcomed and healed those crowds who brought the heaviness and hungers of their hearts and different illnesses to him. Jesus cured and satisfied them all. He made the mute speak, the deformed whole, the lame walk, and the blind see.
Moreover, Jesus wanted his disciples to be also moved with pity. Jesus wanted that the hearts of his disciples will also experience the power of being moved by others. To be moved with pity allows us to feel the heart of another. This allows us to understand them, to be in solidarity with them and to journey with them. Such solidarity will lead us into healing and freedom, which is the very experience of those people healed and freed by Jesus.
This means that the journey towards healing, freedom and fullness of life is not achieved when we are alone. It cannot be achieved when we distance ourselves from our friends and family, our community, and from the Church.
That is why, as the heart of Jesus was moved with pity, he too asked his disciples to participate and join with him. His question, “How may loaves do you have?” must have been a question with a deeper meaning. Jesus was not just asking about the number of the physical loaves of bread, but also the availability of the hearts and presence of the disciples. Indeed, that question meant more than loaves.
The disciples responded not just with seven loaves, but also with few fish. This food was all they had, yet, God asked everything. And they all gave them up for others. It must not be easy to give up all you have for the sake of others. That food, if one would think, would not have been enough just for the 13 of them. How could that little they have, feed hundreds of people?
We usually think for ourselves and prioritize our own needs. However, the disciples, out of obedience to Christ, gave everything they had at that moment for the sake of those in need at that moment. This was the beginning of the wonder and amazement.
Those seven loaves and few fish given out of generosity and obedience to Christ were blessed, given thanks, and broken. Those were distributed to all of those who were hungry, to satisfy them and fill their emptiness. Yet, what was blessed, given thanks and broken and was shared became abundant before the eyes of the disciples. As people partake with their bread and fish, people were satisfied and there was more than enough. This was how they collected the left-over that filled seven baskets. The number of fullness.
Today, Jesus also invites us to be moved with pity that with him and with the disciples, we too shall bring out those little things that we have, and to offer them to God so that many will be able to receive. We shall see the wonder, then, when the small or little things from us are given generously because we will surely be able to respond to the different forms of hungers around us. Hunger is not just limited with physical hunger for food but also for love, for affection, for justice and for peace.
The symbol of seven loaves and few small fish are not just limited with material possessions that we have. These also include our talents, capacities, expertise, our time and effort, our presence and our very person.
While the Lord assures us and promises satisfaction from our own hungers in life, hopefully, we too will be like his disciples who became instruments of satisfying not just ourselves, but also our brothers and sisters. Hinaut pa.