The Gospel According to Matthew 14:14-22
Imagine a large crowd of about 5000 people. Christ had spent all day healing the sick and showing compassion on this crowd, who had gathered to come and meet Him. After a long day, His disciples encouraged Him to send the crowds away to their villages to go and purchase food for themselves.
However, showing further compassion on them, Christ insisted that it was not necessary for the crowd to leave. With only 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, Christ blessed the food, which then multiplied enough to feed the 5000 people present, and have 12 baskets remaining!
St Theophan the Recluse highlights Christ’s response, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat”. He reminds us that just as Christ responded to the crowd here, we are called to adopt this attitude in our own lives when our neighbour asks something of us.
So many times when we are asked to help someone, or see someone on the street asking for money, we are tempted to question that person’s worthiness and legitimacy of receiving assistance. Yet Christ did not question who in the crowd were worthy of being showed compassion on. He provided food for all. Some people in the crowd could have even been part of those who were calling out “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!”. But such is God’s Providence- “He makes the sun to rise on the good and the evil, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matt 5:45). We are encouraged to ask God to help us to show even a tiny amount of mercy to our neighbour, just as He shows great compassion and mercy to us.
Source: “Thoughts for Each Day of the Year” According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God by St Theophan the Recluse