The news of the killing of John the Baptist was devastating. John was a great prophet, loved and followed by multitudes from different layers of society. Even some of Jesus’ disciples were his previous disciples, and he led them to be the followers of Christ. As Jesus heard the news of John’s death, He fled to a desolate place. That is where he saw the crowds around him. They were probably mourning the death of this courageous man of God, whose truth telling cost him his life. Jesus showed compassion to the people. This is why he started to teach them and heal their sick, giving them comfort and illuminating them with his eternal teachings.
Then came dinner time. The disciples suggested that Jesus send the people so that they can find food and satisfy their needs. Jesus did not like this suggestion (Matthew 14:16). Instead, he asked the disciples to provide something for these people who had spent the whole day listening to Him, delighted that He was giving them His attention, that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God came to them. Jesus wanted to take care of the physical needs of the people himself.
In the past four months, our lives have substantially changed in a negative and unpleasant way as a result of this pandemic since it started its invasion into the lives of millions of people, young and old, healthy and vulnerable, across the globe. We lost many of our beloved people in our communities and parishes. Families became seriously hurt because of the loss of lives and the inability to be with their loved ones in the last moments of their earthly lives. Communities are mourning the losses of their good members and trusted friends. Generally, there is a spirit of despair all around us as a result of the bad news that we are hearing and witnessing. In the midst of all these bad things, we are reminded of the compassion that Jesus showed to the people who found themselves in a little trouble.
As Christians, we know that in such a difficult time the world is going through, the compassionate Jesus is with us, against all kinds of powers and news to disperse us, to make us face our destinies by ourselves, away from Him. No matter what happens, wars, famines or pandemics, we believe that even if we walk through the darkest valley, we fear no evil, because he is with us (Psalm 23:4). Our faith must be the source of courage and hope, especially when there is fear around us and among us. There is the fear of the uncertain future and the reality that the bad outcome could be ours, that all the unknown possibilities of evil coming to us one day may be true. In this atmosphere, we read in the Bible that the Lord “gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless” (Isaiah 40:29).
It is very natural and human to feel powerless nowadays. Christians have an alternative and a solution to this: to hold firm to the source of our life and salvation, Jesus Christ himself. We don’t know what is going to happen in two or three months or probably in a year, but we know for sure that if we are bold enough, like the crowd, to sit at the feet of Jesus our Lord and listen to Him and enjoy our time with Him, then He will fulfill all our needs, and we will leave satisfied and changed for the better. Let us not lose this great opportunity.