A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 14:13-21
13 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.
14 When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
15 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.”
16 He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
17 But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
18 Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
19 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.
20 They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full.
21 Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
Reflection: Moved with Pity
Good News: Jesus gives more than we need.
Our God is merciful. He delivered His people from their slavery in Egypt and when they were hungry in the desert, He fed them with manna. Fast forward to the New Testament, we see His only Son feeding thousands of people.
Jesus is moved with pity for the crowd who kept on following Him. Never mind if they have little faith. He cured their diseases. He freed them from ignorance by His preaching. Then He satisfied their hunger.
What does it mean to be moved with pity? You don’t look at your suffering neighbor and say, “Oh, how pitiful they are!” then you go about with your normal routine. You live a comfortable life anyway. Why bother your neighbor? They are not even related to you.
To be moved with pity means to ACT in order help your “pitiful” neighbor. Jesus set the example. You do something to feed the hungry, cure the sick or teach the ignorant. Doing something means exerting effort to ease the pain of the suffering humanity.
Ah, Jesus has the power but me? We might ask. It is not required of us to feed a multitude. It is not required of us to instantly cure a sick person. But if we constantly reflect on the actions of Jesus and look into our own patterns of behavior, we will realize that indeed we have to power to do something for the needy.
Let us pray for wisdom and guidance that we may discover our own five loaves and two fish – that is, our talents and treasure that we can share with others. No one is too poor to help. It is only greed that prevents us from doing so. Do we remember the widow who donated her 2 cents? (Mark 12:43–44)
From five loaves and two fish, a multitude has been fed and twelve baskets have been filled with leftovers. When we share all that we have, our merciful God gives us more than we ever ask for.
See also: Cross Reference John 6: 1-15