Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Isaiah 25:6-10 + Matthew 15:29-37
December 4, 2019
You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes….
Today’s Gospel describes the Lord Jesus providing in two ways. The first sentence sets the scene. It echoes two earlier scenes in Scripture. One is ten chapters earlier in Matthew. There, before beginning the Sermon on the Mount, we hear this: “Seeing the crowds, [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.”
These disciples are models for us in their ascent of the mountain to be near Jesus. Of course, both of these occasions in Matthew echo the scene far earlier in the Bible: that is, in the Book of Exodus, where Moses brings the Law of God down from the mountain. In his Gospel account, Matthew goes to great length to portray Jesus as the new Moses. It’s as the new Moses that Jesus provides for the “great crowds” in two ways.
First, Jesus cures “the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others….” Second, knowing the hunger of the crowds, Jesus compassionately works the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fish. Both of these works of Jesus—healing and nourishing—are also portrayed in the great 23rd Psalm, the source of today’s Responsorial. Of course, to receive nourishment and healing from the Lord, we have to be willing to admit our real hungers and hurts. In your private prayer today, ask the Lord to enlighten you to see clearly where your mind and heart are in need of healing and nourishing.