The incident described in this today’s Gospel puts before us two of Jesus’ acts, both of which flow from the deep sense of compassion that God has bestowed on him.
The crowd that assembled about him had brought their sick, crippled, deformed, blind, mute and those beset with yet other diseases. They laid them at his feet and he cured them all. They were people suffering, people in need. His heart went out to them. He responded to their need, he gave them wholeness and health.
The crowd had been with him for three days and had had nothing to eat. He then sees their need and his compassion moves him to take the initiative. He knows they are hungry and if he dismisses them now he knows they might grow faint on their way home. And so he moves to satisfy their need for nourishment.
Jesus is as compassionate and as loving today as he was during his public ministry. He is aware of our needs as he was of the crowds’ needs 2,000 years ago. Today too, Jesus has the same healing powers he had when he walked this earth. He can provide us with the material blessings we need; he can also deliver us from sin and guilt and fill us with the joy of his risen life. We need only turn to him in thanksgiving, in love and in faith, and his eager, beneficent powers will flow over us, bringing us too wholeness and health.
We are in the season of Advent. We must remember that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, helping us in our need.