Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Jeremiah 28:1-17; Matthew 14:13-21)
Philosopher Robert Solomon understands grief as a continuation of love. He sees people in grief coming to terms with the fact that they will see their loved ones no more. Seeking seclusion, the grieving try to understand what the dead meant to them and resolve how they will carry on without them. Thus, grieving is a process leading to action. In today’s gospel Jesus is seen retreating so that he might come to terms with the assassination of his mentor, John the Baptist.
Jesus became a disciple of John in the desert. After his baptism, Jesus went his own way, but the two kept in touch. Now Jesus has to consider his destiny in light of how John, also an immensely popular prophet, was mistreated. He is not allowed much time. The crowd searches him out. He resolves to throw himself on the mercy of the Father. He will continue his mission of reconstituting the twelve tribes of Israel. To show his care for them, he supplies enough bread for all to eat.
The food that Jesus produces is rightly seen as Eucharistic. We partake of it when we break bread in Jesus’ name at mass. It first draws us together in him and then sends us out to others. We continue Jesus’ labor of bringing the peoples of the world together in one People of God.