Mt 15:29-37 Food For Reflection
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” …He then took seven loaves and a few fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over – seven baskets full.
Whatever the Lord takes in his hands, he spiritualizes it. That is, he gives it a deeper meaning. Not all deep meanings are easily seen. One must have the eyes of faith to see it.
Only the Lord would give thanks for a few fish! Only the Lord would break a few loaves to feed five thousand people! Only the Lord would believe the unbelievable, or see the impossible.
Why? Because He is God? Yes. But more importantly, because He is humble enough to be childlike and believe He can make a difference in people's lives.
The announcement after Mass went something like this: “Please consider purchasing a present for a child in need so that their Christmas may be just as blessed as yours.” Why in the world did they use the word “blessed”? Why not the word “merry”?
Does a Christmas gift now make a Christmas blessed??? Does Santa Claus arriving on the scene make Christmas more meaningful? Did the gifts of gold, frankincense and Myrrh make Christ’s Christmas blessed? I don’t think so. At best, it may delay for an evening the disastrous effects of a broken family, of an abusive parent, of absent love.
What makes a Christmas blessed are not presents, but Christ’s presence. What every child truly seeks is Christ’s presence under their roof, in their family, in their parents, in their siblings, and in their life. This simple and obvious aspect of Christmas is far too often overlooked and highly underestimated by every Christian.
Too many of us really believe that a Christmas gift is worth more than it is. It isn’t.
When I first read today’s Gospel passage, I immediately began reflecting on Christ’s miraculous feeding of the five thousand people. What a gift! But then my heart and soul, through the power of the Holy Spirit, began to focus on a different fact, the fact that the people were willing to go hungry for three days just to remain in Christ’s presence and hear His every word.
Our Christmas is the exact opposite of Christ’s Christmas! He had so little. We have so much. We have lights, Christmas trees, stockings, fireplaces, chestnuts roasting, presents, Rudolph, Frosty, sales and gift cards. The Lord only had His mother, the Father and a star above Him. He had so little yet had it all.
Advent is a time for reflection. Let’s reflect. The manger scene is a quiet reminder to all of us: Do not judge. Do not judge. How quickly we would all judge that very scene today and the family in that scene. How quickly we would shake our heads and conclude that they were a hopeless and helpless family. How wrong we would be! They are neither! They are not hopeless or even helpless. They are Holy, a Holy Family, that which is missing in so many of our families today.
The Lord had little and yet, he had it all! The Lord had His mother, the Father, and their unconditional love.
Let’s reflect. Let’s continue to reflect. Faith does not come from human ingenuity or craftiness. Hope does not come from material wealth. Joy does not come from comfort. Love does not come from the bottom up. Faith, hope, joy and love come from God who gives us our identity and our mission. Mary knew what she was doing. Joseph knew what he was doing. Christ knew what he was doing. For this reason alone, nothing - no one, no circumstance - would influence their life more than God. This is what brings joy to the world, to us.
Advent is a time for reflection. Let’s reflect. Let’s reflect on the manger scene, on a stable that has no Christ. Now let’s reflect on a home that has no Christ; on a life that is devoid of Christ.
Yes, we love to size things (and people) up. We size them up either scientifically or psychologically, but rarely spiritually. And by doing so, not only do we size things up incorrectly; we also miss out on the best part of life: its meaning.
No wonder the poor in spirit are constantly teaching and feeding the prideful at heart.