On this Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is also the World Day of Prayer for the Sick, we have come together to celebrate the two sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick and the Holy Eucharist. Christ is always present when we gather in his name and today we welcome him especially as physician and healer. We pray that the sick in mind, spirit or body may be restored to health by the gift of his mercy and made whole in his fullness.
In places Saint Mark’s Gospel reads very much like an action drama. Our Lord is always on the move, preaching the Good News of salvation, casting out demons, sparring with the Pharisees, and healing the sick. But in today’s account of the feeding of the four thousand, we get a glimpse into the heart of Jesus and not just his actions. In fact, before he does anything, Our Lord confides in his disciples: “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.” After being with him for three days, they’ve run out of food, and Our Lord is afraid they won’t make it home without a meal inside them.
And so Our Lord invites the disciples to discuss how they can respond to the crowd’s need. They gather together the meagre supplies they have. And as Our Lord lifts them up in gratitude to the Father, and directs his followers to serve them to the crowd, there is more than enough food to satisfy their hunger.
There are times when we can be too quick to act; especially when we face significant challenges. And yet these are the times when we should ask Our Lord to share his heart with us. As he shows us what matters to him, we can get clarity on our own situation. And that puts us in a position to find out what God and we together can do about the needs that touch us, (especially when we’re young and considering which path of life we should take.)
Ash Wednesday is still a few weeks away, and yet it’s never too early to prepare for Lent. Let us devote some time today to thinking about how we can draw closer to God’s heart during Lent. The opportunities and possibilities for growing in God’s love are as limitless as his love for us.