The Gospel according to Matthew (14:13-21)
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place, and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over–twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to trust in Your love and compassion.
Encountering Christ: There are a few things that immediately come to mind when I read this passage from Matthew and related passages from the other Gospels.
- Why wouldn’t you follow Jesus? For a second, let’s forget about the fact that He healed the sick, showed compassion for His people, and was the Son of God. There were still many people that didn’t believe in Jesus’ mission even though they heard about all His miracles. But putting things in perspective, if you believed any of this or not, this guy named Jesus got six large jugs of water and turned them into the finest wine available! And then He had two fish and five loaves of bread and was able to feed over 5000 people. I don’t know about you wine and food lovers, but I am all in!
- Have you ever been faced with what seems to be an “impossible situation?” And the outcome appeared at some point and that’s when you realize that it was God and the Power of prayer.
Jesus’ miracle speaks to His commitment to “feed us” in every way. Yes, this was a feeding with food, but it’s symbolic of Him being able and willing to feed our souls with His grace to face whatever hardship or challenge life throws at us. His grace is enough!
This gives us insight into the heart and compassion of our Lord. Many times, we are afraid to go to God. We are afraid to turn to Him because of our sin. We are afraid of what He will think and say to us. We feel guilty and ashamed and, as a result, fail to seek Him out.
The problem is often twofold: First, when we face some challenge in our lives, and we see it as something we do not know how to overcome. This can lead to despair and disappointment. But when this happens, we must reflect upon miracles like this one and realize that all things are possible for God. The second is that we often lack the ability to distinguish between God’s will and our own limited ideas. Too often we come up with our own ideas of what we think is good and right, and we start praying for that.
But what if God’s idea and will is much different and, of course, much greater?! What if God has a plan that we never could have come up with on our own? The truth is that He does have a far more perfect plan for our lives than we could ever dream up. So, you think that you are faced with an impossible situation? Give it to God, He knows what is best for us, and He can bring that plan to fruition. For our part, we must seek that plan, surrender to it, and have faith in His perfect love, mercy, power, and love.
Closing Prayer: Help me to know that You always long for me to come to You. As You never tire of me coming to You, may I also never tire of coming to You. Jesus, I trust in You.
Action of the Day: So, what’s in your future? The answer is that we don’t know. But what is it that seems to worry you the most? What is it that seems to fill you with anxiety? God has a perfect plan for that situation. Your job is to seek out that plan and trust it will be brought to fruition.