Tuesday after Epiphany
By now it was already late and Jesus’ disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss [the crowds] so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” Mark 6:35-36
Do you trust Jesus? Trust is required of us on many levels. It’s required on the level of receiving all the spiritual, emotional and psychological strength we need to not only survive each day but also to thrive in many ways. Trust is also required on the level of God providing for our basic day-to-day needs such as food, shelter and clothing. For most people, these areas of trust are not difficult, but for others it requires a tremendous amount of surrender.
This Gospel situation provides a context in which Jesus is able to test the trust of His disciples. At first, they fail the test by panicking and asking Jesus to send the crowds away to obtain food, but in the end they are awe-struck as they see the providence of God at work. In the end, Jesus multiplies five loaves of bread and two fish so as to feed over five thousand.
First of all, this Gospel does not tell us that we can be irresponsible in providing for our own needs and simply trust that Jesus will miraculously provide for us all the time. It’s not about abandoning our own duty to work and provide for ourselves and our families.
What this Gospel is about is trust. In this context, the followers of Jesus were being drawn to put their eyes on our Lord and be with Him. They were being drawn, spiritually, to abandon all cares in life in that moment so that they could be fed spiritually. They were being invited into an act of faith, and it’s clear that the crowds were, indeed, trusting in this interior invitation. It’s clear by the fact that they were still with Him despite their evident physical hunger.
One key message, therefore, is that God sometimes calls us to trust Him in ways that do not seem to be immediately practical and logical. The practical thing to do would have been to leave and acquire food for themselves. But the supernatural call of grace, at that moment, told this group of five thousand that they should remain with Jesus and trust that all would work out. And that’s what they did, and it did work out.
Reflect, today, upon how God sometimes calls you to follow Him in ways that do not immediately make sense. Don’t be surprised if you sense, at times, God calling you to listen more intently to His promise of providence than your own natural deduction of human logic. God’s ways are far above our ways. Sometimes His call is radical, and when you are deeply convicted in faith that God is calling you to trust Him, then do it. Trust Him in all things and He will always provide for you.
Lord, my trust in You at times is weak. At times I doubt Your goodness and Your providence in my life. Help me to always trust more in Your gentle invitation than in my own conclusions in life. Help me to be led by You always so as to live daily in accord with Your perfect plan. Jesus, I trust in You.
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