After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.”
The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…right? If you’re like me, there is a little part of you secretly longing for December 26th. Don’t get me wrong; I relish the Christmas spirit! But I started seeing Christmas items for sale seven weeks ago. And it makes me wonder how we’ve gotten so far off course.
Enter Jesus in today’s Gospel. Look at the way he spends his time: healing people in need and encouraging them to praise God for this holy encounter. Then, moved by compassion for the people, he ensures they have the nourishment they need. In the face of perceived scarcity, Jesus responds with a spirit of abundance, leading to more than enough for everyone.
This is the One who entered into the messiness of humanity as Emmanuel. How can we let go of the anxiety of holiday consumerism and make space for God with us?
—Katie Davis is a former member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. She serves on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections in Chicago and the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project.
God of Abundance,
Who nourishes our bodies and our souls,
Liberate us from the weight of materialism,
So that we might be free
to feed those most in need,
and to be fed by Love, Hope, and Peace—
gifts that truly sustain.
We ask this through Emmanuel, God with us,
Please share the Good Word with your friends!