When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. // Matthew 14:13
I have never experienced grief and then been able to turn around and perform a miracle. Unless the miracle is getting out of bed, of course. But today in this terrific story from the Gospel reading, we see Jesus grieve the death of His cousin Saint John the Baptist and then go on to feed over five thousand people with twelve loaves of bread and two fish.
I have never made the connection that Jesus was so fresh in His grief at the time when this miracle was performed. Part of the beauty of Christ’s Incarnation, His complete taking on of human nature, is that He experienced human emotions.
And what is more universally experienced than the emotions and pain of grief?
We all can imagine the impulse Christ had to withdraw to a deserted place by Himself, to seek silent solace on the water, to feel the loss of His dear cousin, the prophet of His own coming, and the friend who knew Him from the womb.
In the same way that Christ would go on to transform the terrible human experience of suffering and death through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, I believe Christ is transforming the experience of the pain of grieving the loss of those we love. Christ fully experiences the emotions and real pain of loss, but He then looks and sees our human hunger.
In the midst of His grief, Jesus pities and empathizes with the people around Him. He does not ignore His own grief, but through His divinity performs a miracle to meet their need. Jesus takes again that which makes humanity so vulnerable, so weak, and transforms it into an opportunity for the love of God to reach into people’s lives.
It can be difficult to see others’ needs while in the midst of our own pain, but is there a person you could reach out to who has shared your similar experiences of pain today?Christ is transforming the experience of pain. // Christy Isinger Click To Tweet