The Feeding of the Multitude
- Reading I: Isaiah 55:1-3
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145
- Reading II: Romans 8:35.37-39
- Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:13-21
There are a few notable things in today’s gospel reading: Jesus has just heard about the Baptist’s death and has gone away for a bit of privacy. Perhaps he was sad and wished to be alone. Matthew does not say. Inspite of his desire to be alone however he does not refuse the crowds who came to him for healing. Bereavement does not prevent Jesus from doing his work of healing. He looks beyond his own tears and sees the sufferings of the crowd "and he hath compassion on them". Makes one think of the petty excuses one makes to avoid people asking for help. In the end, Jesus even feeds the multitudes that came to him.
The death of the Baptist was an announcement of Jesus’ own death. Jesus mourning over the death of the prophet also became the occasion for the feeding of the multitude. Is this Matthew’s way of relating the Eucharist to the death of Jesus? To feed is to give life. Jesus feeds the multitude while he mourns the death of the Baptist. Isn’t the Eucharist a proclamation of the death of Jesus until he comes in glory? Whatever Matthew’s intention in rewriting the Marcan narrative so as to closely link the death of John and Jesus’ feeding the multitude, the fact is worth noting.
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