Jesus constantly surrounded himself with the kind of people I go out of my way to avoid: the sick, contagious, strange, possessed, those out of their mind. It never fails that every time he tries to escape for some alone time a crowd follows him. And they do not just follow him, but they seek him out, they find him, they drop themselves at his feet, they wait for the miracle.
The Gospel of the multiplication of the fishes and loaves is my absolute favorite. I have always been drawn to the idea of how no offering is too small for God; how small seeds, tiny acts of kindness, can grow and spread and make huge differences. The way that God can multiply anything we bring to him is amazing! In fact, every morning, I begin my prayer by asking God to multiply the hours in my day!
But today, this Gospel speaks of something different to me. Today, I am not as focused on the multiplication of the bread and fish as I am on the scene of that crowd; they are quite an interesting group. They are the blind and the mute, the deaf and the ill; they are the lost and insane, and I am guessing that if I saw such a crowd chasing after me, or even waiting across the street at the bus stop, I would do my very best to get away, not make eye contact, cross to the other side, lose them fast. But not Jesus. He draws them near. And when I think about it, this crowd, I have to wonder…what moves them? What is it that they have that stirs up such determination to track Jesus down, to reach out to touch his cloak, to literally drop themselves at his feet? What do they know about Jesus that has them being carried on stretchers, lowered through roofs, climbing up mountains, jumping in boats, dropping their nets, climbing up trees, going without food for three days? What is the force that has them desiring to be near him, knowing for certain, that he is the one, the only one, who can save them?
My guess? Faith. Faith is what drives them, and faith is what heals them. Faith is what assures them that when they drop everything and follow Jesus, they will be fed until they are filled. Faith assures them that every hunger, physical and emotional, will be satisfied. And how beautiful and simple is this example for each of us? We should all be as sick as this crowd. We should all be so trapped in our illness, so desperate for a cure, so incredibly hungry, that we have no choice but to run after Jesus, bring him our afflictions, lay them down at his feet, and wait for the miracle.
What part of you needs healing, and is your faith strong enough to run after Jesus and lay it down at his feet? Do you have faith in the miracle?
Jesus, thank you for being the food that fills and sustains me. I pray that my faith stays strong and never wavers, and that it is you that I seek when I am hungry and in need of healing.