Lenten Meditation for March 2, 2013/Third Saturday of Great Lent
- Bible Readings:
Before Holy Qurbana
II Kings 4:38-44
Hosea 2: 18-23
I Peter 2:1-10
St. Mark 8:1-10
�I have compassion for these people� - St. Mark 8:2
Jesus here repeats the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. The first time He acted because He saw a huge crowd like "sheep without a shepherd". And now He takes pity on them because they have been with Him for three days and had nothing to eat. This miracle shows how Christ rewards people who persevere in following Him. The crowd had been following Him and hanging on His words, forgetful of everything else. We should be like them, attentive and ready to do what He commands, without any vain concern about the future, for that would amount to distrusting Divine Providence.
Can anything on earth truly satisfy the hunger we experience for God? The massive crowd that followed Jesus for three days were hungry for something more than physical food. They hung upon Jesus� words as they were hungry for God. When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? The Israelites were pressed with the same dilemma when they fled Egypt and found themselves in a barren wilderness. Just like the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness, Jesus Himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek Him. The Gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover. When God gives, He gives abundantly -- more than we deserve and more than we need. He nourishes us with His life-giving Word and with the bread of heaven.
The sign of the multiplication of the loaves when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes through his disciples prefigures the superabundance of the unique bread of His Eucharist or Lord�s Supper. When we receive from the Lord�s table we unite ourselves to Jesus Christ, who makes us sharers in His holy body and blood. This supernatural food is healing for both body and soul and the strength for our journey heavenward. When we approach the Table of the Lord, what do we expect to receive? Healing, pardon, comfort, and rest for our soul? The Lord has much more for us, more than we can ask or imagine. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist is an intimate union with Christ. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens us in charity and enables us to break with disordered attachments to creatures and to be more firmly rooted in the love of Christ. Do you hunger for the bread of life?
O Father, mold, shape, form me more perfectly into the nature, character, and lifestyle of Jesus. For you, Lord you are the potter and I am your clay. In his name I pray. Amen.
'2013 Lenten Devotionals' published by MGOCSM, Philadelphia