“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.” (Mt: 14:13)
In today’s Gospel we hear about Jesus miraculous feeding of 5000 people.
Jesus has just heard about the death of his friend, cousin, and perhaps mentor, John the Baptist. His heart is filled with grief. Jesus withdraws to be alone and have some time to deal with his loss… but the crowd has other ideas.
Knowing Jesus as a miracle worker, the crowd seeks Jesus out. Their own needs lead them to seek Jesus’ help.
If it were me, I think I would have tried even harder to hide and find some peaceful place to grieve. I would have been so carried away by my own pain and loss that I would not be able to deal with the needs of the crowd; Jesus reacts differently. He is moved with pity, not for himself and his own loss, but for the crowd.
In the midst of his own pain and loss, Jesus reaches out to help others
There is a strange dynamic within grief and sometimes we get stuck there. We are consumed by the loss and can see nothing else. At these times, it is helpful to follow Jesus’ example and reach out to a friend or neighbor in need. We are all carrying our pain and grief and when we share that burden with others, reaching out to them, we grow as a community of faith.
If you are undergoing a transition or loss, consider reaching out to your parish community. Our Care Ministry program is here to walk with you with love and compassion. Contact the parish office or pick up a flyer in the back of church if you would like more information about Parish Care Ministry and the support they can offer.
Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood