Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What did Jesus do when his cousin died?

When someone dear to them dies, a Catholic would soon gather friends and family to celebrate a Mass.  If the deceased person was dearly loved, the greater would be the gathering.  At such gatherings people would be speaking about virtues like compassion, love given and received, experiences of healing or uplifting when life itself was challenged.  It helps them make a better sense of the life of the departed.  When someone dear passes on, you could be feeling a kind of emptiness; your experience could perhaps be described as if you are in a wilderness, needing support.  You need consolation.  Such needs are fulfilled in the coming together and celebrating Mass with the kith and kin.

What did Jesus do when his cousin died?   When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, his cousin and precursor, his initial reaction, like any grieving person was to be by himself with his immediate friends.  But it was not Jesus who really needed to be consoled.  , Jesus became the consoler for the many who were in dire need of comforting.  Therefore, the Lord healed the sick.  He offered words of enlightenment.  He ultimately provided nourishment for  their lives.  Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish and fed five thousand men and their families.  His blessing nourished them in such a way that no one else could do.  The twelve basket full of left over scraps is a symbolic way of Matthew indicating that this blessing and giving of Jesus is meant for all tribes of the people of God.  The Gospel account of the multiplication of the loaves and the fish reminds us of the Eucharist which is the source and summit of our faith life.  Catholic Christians mark their identity with their devotion to and participation in the Eucharist.  The disciples of Jesus, being true to the Eucharist, engage in works of compassion, enlighten themselves with the Word of God and nourish themselves with the bread blessed by Jesus.

Do not let this time of COVID restrictions and isolations make you deserted.  Just as Jesus showed his disciples in the Gospel, your works of compassion, you listening to the edifying word of God and you receiving the bread broken for you helps you to live a life of fullness.  The news of the death of someone dear may trigger a fellowship of the breaking of the bread.  But a disciple of Jesus does not wait for such triggers, to enjoy the fellowship with Christ.