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DEC. 2. ADVENT. WK 1. WED. (B) Matt. 15. 29-37.

Updated: 5 days ago

Jesus reached the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he went up into the hills. He sat there, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel.


But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, they might collapse on the way.’ The disciples said to him, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this deserted place to feed such a crowd?’ Jesus said to them, ‘How many loaves have you?’ ‘Seven’ they said ‘and a few small fish.’ Then he instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and he gave thanks and broke them and handed them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.


God is love, and what we see in this reading is Christ bearing witness to this fundamental truth, a duty that falls also to us. Professing Love is not enough; - we must bear witness to it!


What is Love? It is a generous willingness to put the needs and interests of God and Neighbour ahead of one’s own desires and interests; - and is this not what God himself is doing here; - “loving” all who come to him; - all who turn to him?


Is this not what God the Father did when he sent his only Son to become one of us; - to teach us, to make reparation for our sins, and to establish his Church; - it was all done in order to “love us”; - and he wants us to see this; - and do the same; - to Love God, by loving our neighbour.


It is interesting to note the people Christ seeks out! It is not the Scribes and Pharisees, the leaders of the community, but rather “the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others”. Even when choosing his disciples, rather than the educated elite, he chose humble fishermen; - one of the complaints about him being “he eats with sinners.”


So often, when we “love” we choose those we “like”, or those in a position to help us, but this is not Christ’s way, - rather he chose sinners, those who had nothing; - and especially those who were poor and suffering!


Why did he seek out sinners, and those who were suffering? Because this is one of the primary characteristics of “love”; - to seek out those who are in need; - rather than those I ‘like’ or those who can benefit me!


And notice how Christ conducts himself in this reading. First, he addresses their immediate needs: The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight”, and after he had done that he said: I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat.”


So, then he went on to feed them, by yet another miracle, after having cured them of their illnesses and disabilities. The reason for this was twofold; - firstly to show he was God; - and secondly, to show he “loved them”; - two of the main ‘messages’ Christ had for his people on becoming man!


Gospel Acclamation Is33:22


Alleluia, alleluia!

The Lord is coming to save his people:

happy are those prepared to meet him.

Alleluia!


First reading Isaiah 25:6-10

The Lord will prepare a banquet for every nation


On this mountain,

the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples

a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,

of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.

On this mountain he will remove

the mourning veil covering all peoples,

and the shroud enwrapping all nations,

he will destroy Death for ever.

The Lord will wipe away

the tears from every cheek;

he will take away his people’s shame

everywhere on earth,

for the Lord has said so.

That day, it will be said: See, this is our God

in whom we hoped for salvation;

the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.

We exult and we rejoice

that he has saved us;

for the hand of the Lord

rests on this mountain.


Responsorial Psalm Psalm 22(23)


I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.


The Lord is my shepherd;

there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me,

to revive my drooping spirit.


I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.


He guides me along the right path;

he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness

no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff;

with these you give me comfort.


I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.


You have prepared a banquet for me

in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

my cup is overflowing.


I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.


Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

for ever and ever.


I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.


THE LESSONS FROM TODAY:


Today's readings are clearly about the way God cares for his people, with the Psalm referring to the Good Shepherd; - the first reading telling us "The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek"; - while the Gospel informs us Jesus "felt sorry for all the people" and, as a result, he fed seven thousand of them on the mountain; - from seven loaves; - and a few fish!


The Gospel acclamation focuses on the Advent Season; - telling us that "The Lord is coming to save his people: - happy are those prepared to meet him!" Note how the Gospel also tells us the people Christ provided for on the mountain "came to him" and they did not come alone; - they brought "the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb, and many others; - who they put down at the feet of Jesus, and he cured them!"


This is characteristic of the followers of Jesus as the first requirement of discipleship is the need to leave all our worldly concerns behind and "go to him!" They have to be people who "have Faith and believe he is the Son of God" and who act on that belief by living "The Great Commandment" and caring, not just for themselves; - but for those about them; - a very significant teaching of Jesus; - who was not focussed on his own needs; - but the needs of his people!


As the Advent season begins we have to learn from today's readings as "The Lord is coming to save his people and we need to be prepared to go out and meet him" in a few weeks, when he is going to come to us; - "as a new born infant, born in a stable!" Not the way Kings of this world make their first appearance; - but then Jesus is a King, unlike any the world has ever seen, - either before or after him.


Which is why we have to learn from him; - as he is not coming among us solely as our Redeemer but also as our Teacher. "The Lord is coming to save his people and we need to be prepared to go out and meet him" which is why he left us the Gospels ; - so we can learn! "Learn from me; - for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls"; - but note he also said; - "I do not give peace as the world gives it"; - so, in preparing for Christmas, we must ponder his Gospel teachings!


PRAYER


"Prepare our Hearts we pray O Lord by your divine power, so that at the coming of Christ your Son we may be found worthy of the banquet of eternal life and merit to receive heavenly nourishment from from his hands; - we ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen."

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