Today’s Gospel reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew and talks about the feeding of the Five Thousand, and I’m sure you have probably heard this story a hundred times. You know after Jesus heard about the death of John the Baptist he withdrew from the city and went out into a desolate place to mourn. When people heard that Jesus went to a deserted place, they followed him. When Jesus saw them, he started to preach the kingdom of God and heal multitudes who were brought to Him with various diseases and maladies. As the evening was approaching, the disciples had a sense of concern and compassion for the vast multitude that numbered five thousand men, not counting the women and children. There could have been easily twenty thousand people assembled in this spot listening to Jesus. So, the disciples said: “The people have been here for a while. It’s getting late. We must dismiss them so they can go into the villages, where they might find lodging and get food.” You can read between the lines of what comes next. The disciples were saying: “We have five loaves and two fish. That’s not enough to feed this multitude. What do You mean, ‘Go feed them’?” Jesus responded: “If you can’t feed them, at least you can organize them. Organize them in groups of fifty and tell them to sit down, and I’ll make sure they’re fed.”
The disciples responded back to Jesus: “We don’t have time. We don’t have the money to go to any store or any town that has a bazaar where we can buy enough to feed this multitude.” Jesus said, “Get them in groups of fifty, and let Me take care of the rest.” Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish and, by the power of God, multiplied them so that every person who was gathered there that day was not only fed but fed to the point of satisfaction.
The lesson that we should take with us today are the following. –
1. Jesus’ Compassion
If we read the prior verses of the story, and as I mentioned, Jesus was mourning the death of his friend, John the Baptist and that’s why he left the crowd and wanted to be by himself, alone. But people followed him. Despite his mourning, he didn’t despise them, he didn’t say, I’m sad, I want to be alone as we do sometimes during our life, and he didn’t complain by saying, “Why did you come again”, he didn’t say, “please respect my privacy”, instead, he started to heal their illness, preached them about the kingdom of God. And I think nowadays we need this kind of person, people, community leaders, friends and you name it. All of us have our own problems, work, activities. Today’s lesson is that we should learn to help each other, concern for each other. Disciples were concerned about the crowd, and because of that, they asked Jesus to let them go to their villages. We should learn from Jesus’ compassion. We should use the same compassion towards our church, towards our religion, and finally towards our savior, our lord Jesus Christ. And the reason I’m saying this is because we find time for vacations, we find time for activities but when it comes to church, we start to make excuses, and when we face some difficult times in our life, we start to blame God, religion. But the question is, have we gone to church and asked for God’s help? And the second lesson is the following.
2. Follow Christ
I’m sure you heard this statement so many times and do you know, you will hear more and more. When we read today’s gospel reading, we see how people followed Jesus despite being far from their villages. Do you know why they followed him? They followed him because they saw what he could do, what he could change in their spiritual and daily life. Nowadays, we have every possibility to know, to see, even to come and learn about God, but yet we are going far from him. We are sending him away from our life because we keep thinking that if we have what we need, then we don’t need him. That is what today’s world is doing. One thing I suggest is that don’t wait until a time comes when you will need him. He doesn’t ask us too much; all he is asking is to spend some time with him. Make time for him as we have time for everything. And I assure you when we start to follow him, we will see miracles in our life, we will see the same miracles as they two thousand years ago people saw in their life.
May God bless us all forever and ever amen.