Daily Reflection
December 1st, 1999
Maureen McCann Waldron
The Collaborative Ministry Office
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Isaiah 25:6-10 
Psalms 23:1-6 
Matthew 15:29-37 

Today’s gospel provides a powerful lesson on Jesus’ mission in this world – and a glimpse of our own mission.  As Matthew notes so movingly, Jesus sat on the mountainside near the Sea of Galilee and crowds of people brought their loved ones to him.  From all over the area, families and friends carried the people they cared most about to the place where they could be healed: the feet of Jesus.   

Jesus spent a number of days touching, blessing and always loving, as he made “the mute speak, the deformed made sound, cripples walk and the blind see.”  It was an incredible time and the astonished crowd gave thanks and glory to God.   

But Jesus knew that his message depended on more than his ability to touch weakened bodies with his own hands.  Yes, it was important for people to be cured and healed in their bodies, but the call to his followers went much deeper.  He wanted the disciples to take up his job and begin to care for others as he was doing.  He looked around with a loving gaze at the throngs gathered, rejoicing in the newfound health of their loved ones and he saw that they were hungry.  “I do not wish to send them away hungry for fear they may collapse on the way,” he said.   

The disciples shrugged and said they couldn’t really do much about that.  The crowd was far too big to deal with and they couldn’t fix it by themselves.  Of course they couldn’t! But in their own blindness and weakness, they couldn’t see that they needed Jesus to care for others.  Jesus has them gather food from the crowd and then blesses it and asks them to redistribute it.  There was plenty, and the disciples were able to care for the whole crowd, but only with the help of Jesus. 

I think of loved ones who are sick, blind, discouraged and needing healing. I carry them lovingly to Jesus and ask for healing.  But the real work Jesus is asking me to do is to rely on him for help in caring for others.  Feeding a crowd is an impossible task, one that I might tend to dismiss as impossible for me to do.  But Jesus invites me to lean on him, rely on him and to realize that although I can’t get everything done by myself, with the loving and caring help of Jesus, I can feed and help heal others ... and find myself with a new ability to see.

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