Wednesday, 1st Week of Advent (5th December, 2018)
First Reading: Is 25: 6-10a (Rejoice in his salvation)
Gospel: Mt 15: 29-37 (I am filled with compassion)
The Bible accounts for several narrations where God saved humanity from their suffering and misery. The whole episode of Exodus of Israelites origins form God’s mercy for them in misery. He hears their cries and answers them through Moses (Ex 3:7-10). The Old Testament is full of such accounts. The Prophet’s call and their mission is for the single purpose i.e. to redeem the people in suffering, in wanderings, in sinfulness and in sum we can say in situations without the Lord and therefore when God asks, “whom shall I send and who will go for us” (Is 6:8), the Prophet Isaiah says, “Here I am, send me” (Is 6:8). It is the call of every prophet, every messenger of God. The vocation of prophet consists in not playing the role of God, not performing any miraculous action but he speaks of the Word of God and fulfills the Mission God entrusts to him. It is with every human being whom God calls to save people spiritually, physically and mentally.
This mission continuous in the New Testament too. The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ too consisted in the same purpose i.e. to redeem the people from sin and misery. And therefore St. John clearly exposes, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). while God sent His own Son to fulfill His purpose, He has chosen also the human beings as His instruments of salvation. The account of the first call of disciples in all the Gospels speaks of command of Jesus, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people”. Yes, he wants us to be agents of His love, grace and salvation.
Today’s Gospel in concrete terms explains when and how we can fulfill His mission. Jesus heals many and as in today’s Gospel, he multiplies bread to satisfy the physical hunger of the multitudes. When we go through today’s gospel reading, we too definitely notice the part played by the human agents i.e., the disciples. Jesus cures many. Those lame, dumb, crippled and may others did not come by themselves. They were brought by the crowds. The Gospel says, “Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them (Mt 15:30).
Then again later in the miracle of multiplication of bread, we see the interaction between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus desires to fill the hunger of the crowds gathered there. While disciples saw the impossibility of feeding all as their faith had not really been rooted in Jesus as the Savior of humanity to end all suffering including physical, Jesus with faith in His Father in heaven saw the possibility of satisfying their hunger. He sees a way it by involving the disciples in this act of mercy and love. He asks for what they have with them. He draws out from them what they had; seven loaves of bread and two small fish. And with them he feeds the multitude and there are left over too which were carefully collected in seven baskets full.
This miraculous event calls for praise to God for His love and mercy and makes us realize that Jesus desires to draw out of us what can be useful to fulfill His plan, His purpose. A famous book called, “The monk who sold His Ferrari” narrates events about a famous lawyer of western origin in search of wisdom from the sages in India. He fortunately finds one of his favor. The sage expressed His willingness to share with him but on a condition. The condition was that he spreads to those of his country man what he would learn from him. The man in quest of wisdom agrees and later fulfills the condition too. It is the same with us too. Like disciples we have received the same command to proclaim and teach all that we have learnt “to become fishers of people”, “ to do in his memory”. We live to give the goodness of Jesus in action and word. The advent is another season to give out what we have to those who do not have so that our heart is prepared to receive Him.
It is also important to realize that in this role of helping out to others. We shall not seek prominent or significant role for ourselves. It was the temptation for the disciples which they succumbed too. So the Lord had to rebuking them says, “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master. It is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher and the slave like the master” (Mt 10:24-25). In another instance, Jesus says, “so with you, when you have done all you have been told to say, “we are useless servants, we have done no more than our duty (Lk 17:10. The spirit of Jesus was that he humbled himself even to the extent of death on the Cross (Phil 2:11). We too need to adopt the spirit and serve him ever faithfully.