August 7, 2022

Reflection on the Eighth Sunday of Matthew (St. Theophan the Recluse)

Eighth Sunday of Matthew

Matthew 14:14-22

By St. Theophan the Recluse
Before the miraculous feeding of the five thousand people, the disciples of the Lord wanted the people to be sent away; but the Lord said to them: "They need not depart; you give them something to eat." 
Let us learn this word, and each time the enemy suggests to us to refuse someone who asks for something, let us say from the person of the Lord: "They need not depart; you give them something to eat"—and let us give whatever we find at hand. 
The enemy destroys the desire to offer charity, and suggests that maybe the asker is not worthy of being given to; but the Lord did not investigate the worthiness of those sitting there: he served everyone equally, while of course, not everyone was equally devoted to Him; perhaps there were even those who later cried: “Crucify him.” 
Such is God’s overall providence toward us: "He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45). If only the Lord would help us even a tiny bit to "be merciful, as our heavenly Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36).