Intention: That the start of this Advent will herald for us a time of prayer and conversion as we return our hearts and our lives to the work of building God’s Kingdom of peace, justice, and love.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 15:29-37
At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “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.”
The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.
A Short Reflection for the First Wednesday of Advent
It is hard to describe the life of Christ without using the word “call.” From the moment of his birth, Jesus was God’s voice, beckoning the world to enter into God’s time and ways. For Christians, to answer that call is to follow Jesus by taking up his saving work. We usually do this by seeking and reaching out to others in fellowship and service. However, as we see in today’s Gospel, Jesus most powerful moments of ministry often were ones that he did not initiate, ones that happened through encounters with persons who brought themselves and their needs to him. Jesus the healer, the restorer of wholeness, was Immanuel, “God with us”, humanly present and available to the world. And, so to be disciples, we also must be present and available, making our days and activities places where people are always welcome and can come for companionship and peace. In a society driven by the cult of the individual, we must speak for community, and especially for an end to the tribalism and sectarianism that put us out of reach of each other’s lives. Advent is a time for answering God’s call to return ourselves to being the human family.
Eternal Father, you sent your Son that we might know the fullness of your love. Help us to always listen for your guidance in our lives and in the life of your church. Teach us to be faithful disciples who abandon ourselves to God’s will for us in whatever you would have us do to build your Kingdom. In this time of Advent, may we learn to be instruments of your good news wherever we go, especially where your peace and justice are needed most. We ask this of you who lives and reigns you’re your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.