FIRST WEDNESDAY OF ADVENT
SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 15:29-37
At that time:
Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee,
went up on the mountain, and sat down there.
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others.
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole,
the lame walking,
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
"My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way."
The disciples said to him,
"Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place
to satisfy such a crowd?"
Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?"
"Seven," they replied, "and a few fish."
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.
Jesus gave the crowd seven loaves of bread, and they gave back to him seven baskets of bread. Jesus’ followers repaid him with more than he gave them. Within the Bible the number seven symbolizes spiritual perfection and completion. The story of God’s perfect creation is completed in seven days and Joshua marches around Jericho seven times on the seventh day blowing seven horns.
Within this particular passage Jesus gives us, his followers, perfection and completion through the seven loaves. Jesus’ disciples give seven baskets of bread back to him, demonstrating their desire to follow him and strive for the perfection of the Kingdom of God on earth. As humans, giving Jesus more perfection than he offered us is impossible, as we are born in a fallen nature of original sin. Usually the temptation of sin outweighs our desire to be perfect, and we turn away from God.
Oftentimes in a world filled with violence it seems futile to imagine what a perfect world could look like. It is easier to ignore the latest news story about a mass shooting. Our stomach’s do not drop like they used to, and we have become numb to the violence that takes place within our world, country, and even our own city. The question of what to do about this violence continues to prevail.
We often feel powerless and believe that our actions will not impact others whether on a small or large scale. On the contrary, what we do does affects others, whether positively or negatively. In reality every single one of our actions has an impact, and your action can cause a chain reaction. Just this past week someone put a post-it note on my locker that said “Have a Great Day! – Pass it On.” That note of positivity brightened my day and brought a smile to my face, encouraging me to spread the joy of Christ to others. I moved it to someone else’s locker and people have been passing the message on this past week. Even though it is not possible to make every single one of our actions perfect, we ought to try our best. The struggle with sin is a tough battle and attempting to love like Jesus is one of the hardest things we will ever do. We should strive to make our actions emulate the perfection of the Jesus.
Jesus’ entrance into our imperfect and violent world through his birth offers a possibility of a peaceful perfection. All of Jesus’ actions were done through perfect kindness. The perfection in the giving of seven loaves was eventually returned to him when his disciples brought back to him seven full baskets. Our ultimate goal should be to act in perfect kindness, peace, and love towards others, and those actions will eventually be reciprocated to us in greater measure than what we gave.
What are simple actions that you can take in your everyday life that will make a lasting impact on someone else?
Where do you see the perfection of Jesus in the world?
Margo Cushman is a senior at Dominican High School, is a senior at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, WI. She enjoys participating in theatre and campus ministry, and loves being outside!