“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us.” - 1 Jn 4:10
“Jesus’s heart was moved with pity for them.” – Mk. 6:34
I celebrated Christmas with my 5-year-old goddaughter last night. It marked the last event in five days of continuous hosting people in our home. These days were filled with chaos, laughter, boogery-nosed kids, and lots of family. When each day was ending with the house a mess, more dishes in the sink, and more laundry piled up, it was tempting to go into hermit mode.
I imagine Jesus and his disciples feeling similarly in today’s Gospel. They were stretched beyond their limits and ready for a break with some “me time.” Jesus, being so moved by the hunger of the people, shows his disciples (and us) that we are not fed by selfishness and self-preservation. We are fed by acknowledging our limitations and allowing ourselves to be seen as empty-handed before others and God.
When my goddaughter was just a few weeks old, I remember one afternoon my best friend and I just sat on the bed looking at her together. That moment was sacred and still, full of hope and the gift of just being present. The baby threw up in my hair approximately five minutes later. Sure it was gross, but all I could do was laugh and then head home to take a shower. The moment was still perfect. I was already affected by the act of looking and really seeing.
We are defined by the One who looks at us with love, not what we do or achieve. Can I imagine God looking at me like this? Just spending time gazing at me- even in my muck, confusion, and chaos?