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Reading and meditation on the Word of God on Monday of the 18th week in ordinary time, August 7, 2023

The theme for our meditation today is: God Can't Bear When We Are Hungry. To pity or can’t bear from the part of the Lord here is basically about His will, which is to bestow goodness and bring salvation. His concern for those who are in need and little ones is at the heart of His generosity and compassion. Those who are in need as proclaimed in today's readings are those who are hungry. They hunger for physical food to fill their stomachs.

God's people who wandered in the desert often experienced hunger because there really wasn't much food there. Therefore God provided them with manna and meat, even though it was not enough to satisfy them. They still complained and protested because life as wanderers was indeed full of suffering.

Jesus Christ fell pity for the multitudes of people who followed and listened to Him. When they needed to eat because they were tired and hungry, they could not have food themselves. The pity of Jesus was not sensed by the apostles, moreover, they were not sure that God could provide food for such many people. Finally the miracle had happened: Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed thousands of people.

Beyond that bodily hunger, hungry stomach and dry throat, the Lord Jesus actually had pity beforehand for what was most needed, namely salvation of their souls. The Israelites headed to the promised land to find a happy life under God's protection and love. For these thousands of people Jesus knew very well the dryness of their souls, so they really needed a shepherd who would encourage, guide and provide them with a way of salvation.

Pastoral care in the Church is very important and should not be underestimated or even forgotten. This is not only in the narrow sense, namely the existence of leaders, whether ordained or people in robes. In a broad sense, shepherding involves mentoring, animation, protection, advocacy, assistance and empowerment aimed at all people, so that their concrete lives are well managed and dignified.

So Jesus can't stand our hunger, indeed in the end He makes the physical and spiritual lives of His people maintained, at least their lives in this world are decent and good. With a guarantee like this, it is clear that we will look at our future life in the afterlife, of course, full of optimism. Today, let us offer prayer intentions for pastoral care in our Church.

Let's pray. In the name of the Father... In Your love and mercy, O Father, we want to put all our needs, especially today, so that we can receive Your blessings throughout this day. Glory to the Father... In the name of the Father...