Reflection: Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Is.55:1-3; Ps.144; 2nd Reading – Rom.8:35,37-39; Gospel – Mt.14:13-21]

HE TOOK PITY ON THEM

In today’s gospel we are told that Jesus ‘took pity’ on the large crowd which gathered to hear him.  This is not the first time we are told that Jesus (or God in the Old Testament) ‘took pity’ on someone. This crowd was made up of people who heard that after John the Baptist‘s death, Jesus had withdrawn by boat to a lonely place.  The crowd went and waited for Jesus to return back.  Now, John the Baptist was no longer there with them and these people have turned to Jesus.  Jesus was indicated by John as the one who was to come… Jesus was the one who had to fulfil the Scriptures…

The first thing we are told about Jesus is that he took pity on these people.  To take pity is a characteristic of God in the Old Testament, especially in relationship to his own people, Israel.  We often hear about what God did to show His pity on them for example, God always forgave their ‘abandoning Him’.  Another characteristic found in the Old Testament is that God helped his chosen ones especially in their needs.  This is the second thing we are told about Jesus in this week’s gospel.  Jesus took pity on the crowds and “healed their sick”.  Therefore, Jesus’ actions are in full fulfilment of what was said and foretold by the Old Testament and by John the Baptist himself about Jesus.

But this is not all, there is more.  In the gospel we are told that in the evening, after listening to Jesus, the disciples asked Jesus to send the people away to buy their own food…  but Jesus’ reply was that they themselves should give them something to eat… to which the disciples reacted by saying that they only had five loaves and two fish.  Although the food available was deemed ‘too little’ by the disciples, they were enough for Jesus to feed about 5000 men plus women and children…  We find a parallel story in the Old Testament where the Israelites were in the desert, as God commanded them, heading towards the promised land at some point in the desert God gave them manna and meat (i.e. birds) to eat, while in today’s gospel, Jesus is giving those who were ready to listen to him loaves and fish.  Furthermore, after everyone ate as much as they could, the disciples collected 12 baskets full of remaining scraps.

Jesus is God and as God Jesus is asking us to co-operate with him as he did when he asked the disciples to give those people listening to his Word, something to eat.  By themselves the disciples faced an impossible task.  But with Jesus’ help they managed to achieve the impossible.  Let us keep in mind that with God, nothing is impossible.

“Lord, you are great and the immensity of your love knows no boundaries.  Give us enough faith to learn to let ourselves be guided by your loving caring hands.  Thank you Lord!”

 

 

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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