The Nineth Sunday after Pentecost, July 25, 2021
Readings, 2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14 Ephesians 3:14-21; Mark 6:1-21
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The feeding of the five thousand is recorded in all four gospels and considered as the miracle of multiplication. The gospel according to John mentions the five loaves of bread and the two fish.
In the narrative, people followed Jesus from one place to another because they saw the signs (miracles) of healing. Jesus saw an opportunity to teach by reaching out to the immediate need of those who had followed him for the whole day. He knew that they were hungry and needed food to eat.
There are different players on the scene. Jesus who initiates a conversation by asking how to acquire bread to feed the people. Philip who responds in a way most of us would have by counting the cost. “We don’t have money” All he saw was scarcity, and nothing could be done to help the situation.
Andrew who differed from Philip by seeing a little possibility. “There is a lad here with five loaves of bread and two fish” he said. He Andrew pointed out what was available while doubting that it would be sufficient. The lad who might have packed a great big lunch and had stopped to listen to Jesus. We do not have details other than knowing that he enabled Jesus to perform a sign (miracle).
The feeding of the five thousand was similar to the feeding of the twelve tribes in the desert during the Exodus with Manna. God took care of the needs of the body and the souls of the people in the wilderness. Jesus’ miraculous action of multiplying bread to feed the crowd has an inner meaning of disclosing him as one who sustains us with his living word, and the gift of his own life in the Eucharistic Bread. The giving of thanks, braking and distributing of bread signified his Eucharistic gift to the world.
What intrigues me is that, Jesus allowed disciples and others to participate in the miracle. He asked Philip just to show how most times people want things to be straight forward and easy for them to participate. Also, Jesus listened to Andrew and worked with the little the no-name lad provided.
Jesus saw value in what the, the young lad had and was ready to use it. He called for participation from all the disciples by asking them to sit, organize and make people ready for to receive the miracle. Jesus wanted others to know that all God’s people have a place in God’s salvation plan for the world.
The day ended with Jesus’ walking on water to make a proclamation that he was the divine revelation coming down from heaven to bring God’s life and saving power to the world. “It is I, do not be afraid” he said when the disciples were afraid of him. What powerful words these were to the ears of the disciples.
Here is what I ask you to do. Find yourself in the story, and decide how you can transform your life to be a conduit to what God is doing in the world, your world, where you live, learn, play or work.
Ask yourself the following questions. With who in the today’s story do I relate to most? How am I prepared to work with Jesus as he meets physical, spiritual and emotional needs of others? What will I do for others so that they too may experience the saving power of God through Jesus Christ?
I hope and pray that you are ready to allow the power of God that is working in you to do infinitely more than you can ask or imagine so that God’s glory will be experienced by all from one generation to generation. Amen.