Year A: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 14: 13-21
It would be worthwhile to read the section between last week’s Gospel and this week’s - from Matthew 13: 53-14:12. - as it helps us to understand Jesus’ desire to get away from it all. He has been home to Nazareth and found Himself rejected. Everyone knows who He is - how can He be a prophet?
Then, Matthew deals with the death of John the Baptist. John has confronted Herod with his wrongdoing and has paid for it with his life.
Jesus has been forcibly faced with the consequences of being a prophet - rejection and death. No wonder He wanted time apart to reflect on it all.
However, another consequence of being a prophet is that people look to you - and so, the people follow Jesus out into the lonely place - anxious to be near the one who may be the answer to their prayers.
As always, Jesus sees their plight and, though desperately seeking solitude, comes to the crowds and cares for them.
At the end of the day, there comes the realisation that the people seem to have come unprovided for and the disciples are at a loss. Jesus takes the simple offering of five loaves and two fish - blesses and breaks them and hands them to the disciples to distribute to the five thousand men and the women and children who had accompanied them.
He does not simply provide enough for the crowds - but when they are satisfied, twelve baskets full of scraps are left over.
We are also aware of a sense of premonition - looking ahead to another breaking of bread on the eve of His Passion - another gesture of love and compassion for those who would not understand what was happening. A gesture of love and compassion which has comforted and strengthened countless millions through the ages.
The disciples could not believe that Jesus could provide so much from so little - and yet, there it was before their eyes.
They were learning a lesson in the art of Kingdom living - Jesus takes our little, blesses it - and produces fruit beyond anything we could have imagined.
What does it mean for me?
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