Scripture: 1st Reading: 1Kgs12,26-32;13,33-34; Resp. Psalm: Ps106,6-7,19-22; Gosp. Accl.: Mt4,4; Gospel: Mk8,1-10
Our God is compassion and love. He has particular love for each of His creatures. He loves each of us with an everlasting love. He knows our names and cares for us as special creatures of His hands. We see this amply demonstrated in our gospel passage today. The setting was in the desert.
Our Lord had preached the word to a huge crowd of over four thousand. It was evening and the people were hungry and tired. It would be impracticable for the people to get something to buy to eat at that time of the day. Our Lord knew something had to be done. He had compassion on the crowd. He felt their situation. He decided to act. He asked the disciples what could be done.
The disciples were practical people. They saw the huge crowd; they knew so many odds were ranged against them: the impossibility of getting food in the desert, the largeness of the crowd, their lack of adequate funds to finance such a huge expenditure. We must not forget that the core of our Lord's disciples was drawn from the poor, unknown, disadvantaged of Israel.
We know that He himself came as a poor man, born in a poor stable, into a poor family. From the human point of view, feeding the crowd that day in the wilderness or desert that they were, was completely impossible. But that is human logic!
Where human logic and wisdom fails is where divine power takes over. Human planning was completely inconsequential here. God had His plans. Our Lord knew what He was going to do. He put His plans into action. He changed the entire narrative from disaster to victory. His compassion for these poor, hapless people was not a fluke. His care that they might faint if they were sent home was not without foundation.
He took the only seven loaves and the few fish that were available. He gave thanks over them. He gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Then miracle happened! The word of God tells us today that the crowd ate and was satisfied. They took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
Four thousand were fed with these seven loaves of bread and a few fish! That is the power of God at work. That is the compassion of our Lord who cares not just for the spiritual but also the physical needs of the people. The power of God was made manifest. That unfortunately was the power that Jeroboam repudiated in today's first reading.
Out of his desire to maintain a stranglehold on power in the northern kingdom, Jeroboam decided to establish concurrent sanctuaries at Bethel and Dan and erected golden calves in them for the people to worship. This idolatry, which was a grave sin before Yahweh, was never to go unpunished. That terrible sin made Jeroboam's family to be cut off from the face of the earth.
St. Scholastica devoted her entire life to make this compassion of our Lord known. She devoted her life of prayer to intense intercession for the needs of the Church. She followed in the footsteps of St. Benedict, her brother, by devoting her entire life to God in the monastic life. May she intercede for us to have an ardent love for God.
Let us pray: "As we celebrate anew the Memorial of the Virgin Saint Scholastica, we pray, O Lord, that, following her example, we may serve you with pure love and happily receive what comes from loving you." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.