Wednesday of the 1st Week of Advent
“I feel sorry for all these people…”
In Calcutta lies an old, derelict, defunct temple dedicated to the Hindu god Kali — the god of death and destruction. In this temple, blood rituals, including human sacrifices, were conducted. This was the property the Indian government accorded to Mother Teresa when she first went to Calcutta, pleading for a piece of land for which she could start her mission work for the poor. This was the 5 loaves and 2 fishes provided to her by the Christian God. In the hands of man, 5 loaves and a couple of fish can hardly fill a belly. A memorable and fulfilling meal it would not have made. But in the hands of God, it was all that was needed. And Mother Teresa did not disdain nor despair by the circumstances she was thrown into but instead, in total surrender to God, allowed the miracle of His power to transform, to sanctify, to multiply, to redeem and to save. And the rest is history. She went on to become a Saint — one of the greatest, ever.
In today’s Gospel, the crowd has been following Jesus for 3 days and 3 nights. I am guessing they must not have had very comfortable sleeping arrangements. That must have been some awesome preaching and healing going on. For the crowd, it was a hunger not for earthly bread but literally, for every word that came out from the mouth of God. But here is the kicker — Jesus was fully aware what the crowd must have been going through after following him for so many days. He could see not only the physical struggles of hunger, thirst, discomfort, lack of proper rest, lack of a good shower, shelter from the elements… and he pitied them. Jesus saw the desperation in the crowd for the bread of life, for the Word of life, for the spirit of life. And he loved them. And He pitied them. And he provided for them. And they were fulfilled. Deeply fulfilled.
So when we bring the offerings of our poor life — our pain, our failures, our fears, our anger, our unforgiveness, our sins, our weaknesses, our inadequacies, our unforgiveness, our selfishness, our anger, our judgements, our arrogance, our indifference, we know how measly are our sacrifices before the altar. And indeed they are.
But for the grace of God. For the mercy of God. For the love of God… for us. And when God cries in pity for us, He saves us. He multiplies any speck, even the tiniest of specks — of repentance, of humility, of sorrow, of goodness, of selflessness, of good done, of mercy shown, of forgiveness rendered, of self denial, of reverence for Him, of hope in Him, of trust in Him.
From our 5 loaves and 2 fishes, His uses the yeast of His love for us to multiply and turn them into the Divine Feast. And we are fulfilled. Deeply fulfilled.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Justus Teo)
Prayer: Father, help us. We are poor, we are hungry, we are lost. We have nothing to bring before You that would ever be worthy. No matter how hard we try, we cannot save ourselves.
Thanksgiving: Father, thank you for loving us first. For loving us in spite of our unworthiness. Thank you for all the times you have shed tears for us –– silently, unknown to us, unseen by us. The tears that come from a Father’s love for His children. Tears of pity. Pity that saves.