Scripture: Matthew 14:13-21
Key verses: (13-18) 13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.”
Reflection: Jesus is a model of patience. Just before this familiar story in Matthew, he has learned of the cruel death of his cousin and friend John the Baptist. No doubt he wanted to grieve alone. We are told that he withdrew to a deserted place by himself. But the crowd followed him. He had been healing and teaching, and his crowds were growing. They wanted more from him. Even in his grief, he had compassion on the people. He healed those in the crowd who were sick. All day he did this, until it was late, and people were hungry. And then he kept on giving, showing them his power through a miraculous feeding. I think if it were me, I would run from some of those crowds. They are too needy! Can’t they just leave me alone for one day? Good thing Jesus is Jesus, and I am not.
I think there is a lesson in here for us, to not be afraid to ask for what we need in prayer. Nothing is too small for God. None of us nag God too much. Even if others have greater needs than we do, even if we worry that God might be bothered by our asking, Jesus welcomes our prayers, and responds with love and grace. He also invites us to do the same with one another. How can we be the hands and feet of God, taking time for one another? How can we share what we have to answer some of the needs of others? How can we respond with patience and love and generosity in his name?
Prayer: Lord, you are patient and generous. Today, help me be more like you. Help me see with your eyes, listen with your ears, and love with your love. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].