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The Heart of the King – Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, I believe in your abiding presence, I hope in your boundless mercy, and I love you for who you are. Strengthen my faith, hope, and love all the same, Lord, for you know how weak I am. Lord, turn your heart toward me, who am hungry for you.
- In the Presence of the King: Jesus’s words reveal the plight of those who have been with him, but also the wonder with which they have been rapt: “…they have been with me now for three days, and have nothing to eat.” For the sake of being with Christ, the Good Shepherd who heals the wounds of Israel, the people put aside their desire for food and drink. What cures he must have worked! What dynamism he must have had! Jesus, whose “heart was moved with pity” reveals to us through this Scripture a gentle power, one of a King who loves his subjects. When we go before Christ in the Eucharist, he exercises that same kingly love, healing our wounds, just as he did for Israel.
- A Heart Moved by Hunger: Jesus’s kingly love will not let his children go away hungry, so he takes what little they have to spare and feeds the entire crowd with it. In much the same way, Christ sees the hunger of this starving world, and takes our meager offering–time, talent, treasure–and multiplies it by his strength, to feed many souls who need his Word.
- A Heart Still Burning in the Sacrament: “Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples…” These words of Matthew are mirrored almost precisely by the words of the establishment of the Eucharist in chapter 26 of the same Gospel: “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26). Christ knew that after his Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, he could not leave his followers to spiritually starve, so he performed the greatest miracle: He gave us the Eucharist, by which he multiplies his very self to feed his flock and remain close to us.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I, too, am hungry for your Presence. I come before you now spiritually, even if I cannot physically be with you, so that you may feed me with your Word and make me Eucharistic for others’ sakes.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make a spiritual communion to unite myself to you.
For Further Reflection: A sample prayer of Spiritual Communion:
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you have already come, and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
Br. Brian Flanagan, LC, is a seminarian studying classical humanities with the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, Connecticut. He is from Atlanta, Georgia, and has been in the Legion since 2016. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.