“They glorified the God of Israel” (Matthew 15:31).
Wherever we turn these days, Christmas music plays, and for some of us this year, the words to the traditional carols we’ve come to know by heart have suddenly taken on new meaning. Old familiar jingles about Christ’s birth now seem to resound with significance—they are bursting with the presence of His Gospel!
The popular hymn, O Holy Night, is full of such moving words – it speaks of the world lying long in sin, “’til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” Such were the great crowds of the lame, blind, deformed and mute in today’s Gospel. Imagine them, the sick and weary; the hungry, approaching Jesus up on the mountain, filled with “a thrill of hope.” Envision them “falling on their knees” as our compassionate Savior placed them at His feet and cured them. Jesus took pity on that crowd of four thousand and fed them with only seven loaves and a few fish. Imagine the “weary souls rejoicing!”
Jesus holds no less compassion for our weariness and hunger as He continues to heal us with His Word and feed us through the Eucharist. We give thanks for these gifts which we receive in faith, and rejoice along with the souls on that mountain, “Sweet hymns of joy! In grateful chorus raise we! Let all within us praise His holy name!”