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Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, grant me the grace to get to know you more, so I can love you more.
- True God and True Man: Jesus shows us his heart in these lines of Scripture: “His heart was moved with pity for them.” Jesus is never indifferent to our loneliness, pain, or distress. He wants to be united to us. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says, “God has a face–meaning he is a “you” who can enter into a relationship–and who has not withdrawn into his heavenly dwelling place, looking down at humanity from on high. God is certainly above all things, but he addresses us, he listens to us, he sees us, he speaks to us, he makes a covenant, he is capable of love” (Pope Benedict XVI General Audience, January 16, 2013).
- I Am the Bread of Life: The disciples worried because they were painfully conscious of their own limitations to give food to five thousand people, so they asked Jesus to dismiss the crowd. But for Jesus, this was an opportunity to teach his disciples (and us) not to count on our own resources, but on the grace and love of God, if we want to bear fruit. “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” Psalm 127:2 says, “It is vain for you to rise early and put off your rest at night, to eat bread earned by hard toil—all this God gives to his beloved in sleep.”
- Twelve Baskets of Leftovers: The abundance of leftover bread shows the greatness of Jesus’s heart and his magnanimity. Jesus is always predisposed to give us as much as we need, even to overflowing. Nevertheless, St. Paul opens our horizons even more when he says “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). These twelve baskets are a sign that God has prepared for us something better than we can ever expect. Is this not a motivation to follow Jesus in faith? “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Conversing with Christ: My Lord, allow me to contemplate you looking at the crowd with a heart “moved” by love for them and for me. I know that you love me with a tender heart and that you look at me with eyes of true love.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will share with someone what I’ve contemplated about the heart of Jesus.
For Further Reflection: Consoling the Heart of Jesus, by Father Michael Gaitley, MIC.
Father Bernardo Torres, LC, was born and raised in Mexico City. He has certifications for couple’s therapy and currently works in Louisiana with young adults helping them to grow deeper in their faith.