From a commentary on Mark’s Gospel by St. Bede the Venerable:
Matthew relates more fully how he took pity on them. He says: “And he took pity on them and cured their sick.” This is what it means really to take pity on the poor, and on those who have no one to guide them: to open the way of truth to them by teaching, to heal their physical infirmities, and to make them want to praise the divine generosity by feeding them when they are hungry as Jesus did according to the following verses.
Jesus tested the crowd’s faith, and having done so he gave it a fitting reward. He sought out a lonely place to see if they would take the trouble to follow him.
For their part, they showed how concerned they were for their salvation by the effort they made in going along the deserted road not on donkeys or in carts of various kinds, but on foot.
In return Jesus welcomed those weary, ignorant, sick, and hungry people, instructing, healing, and feeding them as a kindly savior and physician, and so letting them know how pleased he is by believers’ devotion to him.
|Christ as the Good Shepherd, Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Italy, AD 425|