- Genesis 32:22-31
- Psalm 17:1-7, 16
- Romans 9:1-5
- Matthew 14:13-21
After John the Baptist is murdered, Jesus desires a time of solitude. Still, his compassion for others will not allow him to dismiss those who need him, and he is moved to perform one of his greatest miracles. One of the most stunning themes of the gospel can be found in today’s reading: solidarity. God chooses to save humankind not from afar but through experiencing life on earth, living with the poor, ministering to the oppressed, and dying with criminals. This kind of union is costly.
When Jesus turns with compassion to care for the crowd, we see God’s self-sacrificing nature at work – Eucharistic overtones. Jesus “took bread, blessed the bread, broke it, and distributed it among the people.” Notice that Jesus “feeds” the people first with teaching and then with bread. At the Eucharist we first hear the Word and then receive the Eucharistic bread: word and sacrament lie at the heart of Christian life.
As we are filled by Jesus’ presence through the Eucharist, we are called to ask daring questions:
- With whom would Jesus live today?
- Where can we bring our own gifts of ministry so that those who are most in need can experience the presence of Jesus?
- How shall our solidarity with the suffering bring new life to the world?
Christ has compassion for the people of the world that hunger for God’s word. When we offer the risen Christ our time, talent, and commitment, he can bring about the Kingdom.