It may seem strange that Jesus should first ascend a mountain before a mass healing. Imagine how inconvenient it is for the disabled.
The “mountain” is mentioned several times in Matthew’s gospel. In the account of the temptation, Jesus is led by the devil to a very high mountain from where he could view all the kingdoms of the world at a glance (cf 4:8). In the transfiguration, Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain for a theophany (cf 17:1-13). In the Sermon on the Mount (cf 5:1) he goes up on the mountain and sits down to teach his disciples and the crowds.
Matthew’s mountain is thus a symbol of the place of revelation. Going up the mountain, sitting down, and curing people are actions of a Great Teacher who reveals the God of Israel, a God who cares for integral human liberation.
How do you respond to the suffering people in your midst?
Gospel • MATTHEW 15:29-37At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full.