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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Today’s Reading | Matthew 14:13–21

Now 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. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When 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.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (NRSV)


This passage is often heard detached from the events that immediately precede it. Reading this scripture alone, one might easily consider it to be about Jesus performing one of his many miracles. However, in the larger context it tells of Jesus being asked for his service and compassion after losing one of his dearest friends, his cousin—John the Baptist. Despite losing his friend, Jesus continued to serve those in need. He healed the sick and willingly fed the crowds his disciples thought should be on their way. This limitless effort and compassion that Jesus offers makes us wonder how we can continue to give of ourselves when we think there is nothing left to give. When we believe we have been through the worst, have been knocked down to our lowest point, how do respond to those who ask more of us? How do we model Jesus as true followers of Christ?

Jesus shows us that his love and grace is stronger than human strength can bear. After losing his dearest friend, he summons the ability to serve his people and leave them with full hearts. How can we follow Christ’s example and continue to give of our hearts and our faith when we find ourselves broken and lost? We must remember that Jesus can always be our source of strength, and that his love and grace continuously multiples, like the loaves and fishes, through our own good deeds and compassion for one another.


God, help me to remain present to others’ needs, even when I believe my own concerns are more important. Help me to be a true follower of Jesus, being ever-willing to love and care for others whose hearts are heavy and needs are great. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Associate Program Manager,
   Elam Davies Social Service Center


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