Gospel: Mt 15:29-37
From there, Jesus went to the shore of Lake Galilee, and then went up into the hills, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the dumb, the blind, the lame, the crippled, and many with other infirmities. People carried them to the feet of Jesus, and he healed them. All were astonished when they saw the dumb speaking, the lame walking, the crippled healed, and the blind able to see; and they glorified the God of Israel. Jesus called his disciples and said to them, ”I am filled with compassion for these people; they have already followed me for three days and now have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away fasting, or they may faint on the way.” His disciples said to him, ”And where shall we find enough bread in this wilderness to feed such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, ”How many loaves do you have?” They answered, ”Seven, and a few small fish.” Jesus ordered the people to sit on the ground. Then, he took the seven loaves and the small fish, and gave thanks to God. He broke them and gave them to his disciples, who distributed them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the leftover pieces filled seven wicker baskets.
The readings are about the abundance of blessings that comes from God and the richness of Jesus‘ compassion. This is what salvation or fullness of life means – the fulfilling of all our needs: spiritual, emotional, social and physical. In the Gospel, full of trust and confidence, people bring their lame, the crippled, the blind and dumb. Jesus healed them all and the crowds were amazed. We witness here what Jesus stands for: the compassion of God and his desire that the sick and the excluded be healed and given full attention. They have been with him for three days and are hungry. They must be fed. There‘s not much to feed them with – seven loaves of bread and a few fish. It is enough for Jesus. At the end seven baskets are still left uneaten. All this reflect the care and mercy of God for his people. And yet, where is it happening in so many parts of the world today? We see more indifference than care for the weak and the marginalized. There is a crucial element in today‘s Gospel we cannot overlook. It was not Jesus but his disciples who distributed the food. In our world, there is an abundance of resources and food. If there is hunger, malnutrition and other unmet basic needs, it is because we, God‘s stewards, are failing in our task of distribution and sense of justice. If there is hunger and suffering and death, it is not the work of God; it is our failure to share our resources as a community. We have kept the goods of the earth for ourselves. Christmas is a time of giving. We could ask ourselves: To whom are we giving? With whom are we sharing our resources? Perhaps we could widen the circle this Christmas with gifts that mean life or death for the poor and the excluded.
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