The Real Miracle of Compassion
Isaiah 55:1-5; Psalm 145: 8-9, 15-22; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21
Little Mary Jo walked out of church with her father one morning and said, ''Wanna know how far I can count?'' Her dad said, ''How far?'' She replied, ''1,582.'' ''Wow'' her dad said in mock surprise. ''What made you stop there?'' She said, ''Church was over.''
We are going to talk about counting today too. The so-called miracle feeding of 5,000. The problem is there are several miracles in this story that we miss because we get hung up on the big obvious thing of how so many people were fed. Perhaps it would help if we drill down and understand what is going on with Jesus in this story.
A little encounter I had at the bank Friday morning helped me to understand better. I arrived at the bank a few minutes before opening. I was the first one there. An older man pulled up in a 1970s vintage pickup truck. Hunched over he hobbled up to get in line behind me. He was chain smoking little stubs of cigarettes that he pulled out of his pocket. I am not sure which smelled worse, the cigarettes or him. So I tried to divert my attention to more pleasant thoughts. Next an elderly woman pulls up in a car with parts dragging on the street. Metal wire held the tail pipe on. As she opened the door I could see that she literally had to squeeze her prodigious body under the steering wheel. I thought to myself, ''That car is dangerous with her body impeding the steering wheel.'' She shuffled over to join our growing line at the door.
Three more people pulled up and got in line. Each one was a senior citizen and each one had substantial difficulty making it from their beat up car to the front door of the bank. I realized that they must have received some kind of check in the mail and they were all there to cash the check on the first of the month. I don't know how to say this nicely but the odor made it difficult to stand there just for the two minutes before th ...
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