Reflection and Prayer for Seventh Sunday after Trinity – 3rd August 2014 (Proper 13)

This material was first published by Redemptorist Publications
and is included here with their permission.

Matthew 14:13-21
A giving that transforms

Jesus needs to withdraw from the crowds, to be alone and quiet, to grieve and to pray. John the Baptist has been executed. Devastating news in itself but it also speaks of Jesus’ own death. The shadow of the cross reaches out to find him in a deserted place.

But the people relentlessly crowd in on him. How many of us would react with anger or at least polite regret: “I’m sorry, not today, come back next week”? People would understand that, wouldn’t they?

But the thing about Jesus is that he just goes on giving. In his compassion for the people he puts aside his own grief to demonstrate the extraordinary generosity of God.

When the disciples, concerned about the people, want to send them away to find food, Jesus transforms that concern into a call to action: “feed the people yourselves”. When a small amount of food is offered Jesus transforms it into so much that over 5000 hungry people are satisfied.

We can respond to this story by offering all that we have: time, money, home, gifts, and all that we are to God in faith that he will take us, bless us and break us. The breaking may be painful – the shadow of the cross reaches out to find us as well – but God will then give us grace in our transformed lives to reach out, with the love and compassion Jesus showed, to the crowds around us still hungry for the Bread of Life.

Lord Jesus, help us to offer you whatever we have and whoever we are. We pray that you will transform our lives with your blessing and enable us to show the same love and compassion to the people around us that you showed to the crowds who followed you.  Amen.