December 6, 2017
by Steve Scholer
Creighton University Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 177

Isaiah 25:6-10a
Psalms 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Matthew 15:29-37

Today's Advent Prayer

Praying Advent Home Page

Reconciliation and Healing

Desiring Patient Fidelity  
Holding Hands with God: Pondering Isaiah

We have all heard the age-old expressions, “if we all just chip in a little,” or “many hands make for light work,” and we know the intended results thereof. In today’s digital world there is even a name for this – “crowd funding” – where the entire world can contribute a dollar or two to help fund a worthy project or in some cases help a needy family pay for medical or funeral expenses.

With this thought in mind, think about today’s reading from Matthew, about the feeding of the multitude, specifically when Jesus says, "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."

We all know how the story ends. There is more food in the baskets than when they started. But how was that possible? Was the multiplying of the fish and loaves of bread a miracle of the magnitude of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead? Or, was the real miracle the impact of Jesus’ message on the multitude gathered to hear him those three days?

Unfortunately, the reading does not tell us what was his sermon was about, but I believe one would be safe in assuming that “love” and “respect and concern for each other,” two constants in the Gospels, were mentioned more than once by Jesus, and may well have been the theme of his talk.

Now, consider this. After the multitude heard such a message, just imagine that when the baskets of loaves and fish were being passed, those who were wise enough to have brought some food were so moved by the message of Jesus that they decided that in addition to taking a little out of the basket, they would also put a little bit more back in, so those less fortunate could have something to eat.

If true, what a miracle indeed! For rather than Jesus creating an endless supply of bread and fish, he taught the assembled multitude to love and have faith in their fellow man and convinced them that even if they shared what meager food they had with others, their own needs would still be met. And indeed, it came to pass, as there was more food in the baskets in the end than before they were passed through the crowd.

This same message of generosity and giving without counting the cost that Jesus gave to the multitude (as I have imagined in my reflection) is one we hear each and every day. But are we willing to share our time, talent and treasure with the poor and needy, or do we think a “miracle” will occur and one person will miraculously appear and satisfy the needs of those less fortunate? Are we willing to help fill the baskets of the food pantry when called upon, share our earnings when the basket is passed in church, or volunteer our time to help those less fortunate? Just think what a miracle it would be if we, like the assembled masses on the hillside, gave a little bit more of ourselves than we expected in return.

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