Jesus reminds us that He is the “one Loaf” that unites the different factions that exist in the community. To celebrate the Eucharist is a truly genuine way to commit ourselves to that unity.
This confrontation with the Pharisees demonstrates the need for faith in Jesus. They ask Jesus for a sign before they will believe in Him. He refuses. The mighty deeds Jesus performs do not produce faith. Jesus message was: “repent and believe.” Once we believe in the person of Jesus then we can accept His message.
Today’s gospel takes us to a plain where the multitude have gathered to hear and be healed. There Jesus delivers His sermon on the Beatitudes. In this version, we hear only 4 Beatitudes with 4 Woes. C.S. Lewis observed: “Beauty exalts, but beauty also lulls.” In other words, we should be wary of being lulled by poetic beauty and basking only in blessings. On the other side of each blessing is a warning against complacency.
In the Feeding of the 4 Thousand, Jesus is more concerned with the hunger of those who have been with Him for 3 days. While this and the Feeding of the 5 Thousand are obvious allusions to the Eucharist, this story is additionally about physical hunger. It reminds us the how many people in our society suffer from hunger and why we need to feed the poor.
We have the cure of a deaf man with a speech impediment, again, in pagan territory. Jesus is always open to the underprivileged in His society. Even gentiles can partake in the coming of the Messianic Age that Jesus initiates. He is there for all, not just “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”
The woman got Jesus to change His mind so that He sees things in a different perspective. Like Jesus in today’s story, we need to be able to see past the standard operating procedures of our lives and be open to discover larger truths.
Today’s gospel episode raises the question of the attitude of believers toward traditions. There needs to be a healthy respect for traditions, but these traditions must be reassessed. The aim must not be laxity but to judge everything in light of the church’s conscious awareness of what is purely human tradition and what is not.