Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Jesus’ word feeds hungry world
Based on 2 Kgs 4:42-44; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15
Five barley loaves and two fish – an overflow crowd – a miracle meal! Today, and for the next five Sundays, we will hear John’s Gospel dealing with Jesus’ teachings that he is the Bread of Life – the food that will forever nourish us who believe in him.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus leads the large crowd following him to a mountain where he sits down among them to tell them of God’s love and forgiveness.
With the large crowd spread over the mountainside, how did the people hear what Jesus was saying? In Jesus’ time, whenever there were any large gatherings, a system of heralds (sometimes called “loud speakers”) was used. The heralds were persons located in areas of large crowds to relay or repeat the message to the people.
Jesus spent the day teaching and healing. By evening, Jesus asked his apostles about food to feed the crowd. Andrew said to Jesus, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus told the apostles to have the crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children, sit down on the grass.
Jesus then took the five loaves and two fish, gave thanks, blessed, broke and gave them to the apostles to share with the people. There was more than enough food for everyone. They even had leftovers – enough to fill 12 baskets. What an amazing miracle. In fact, this is the only miracle found in all four Gospels.
Excited after witnessing this miracle, the people wanted to make Jesus a king to free them from the Roman rulers and provide for them. Jesus wasn’t interested in being a king. He wanted to do more than provide for people’s earthly lives – he wanted to change hearts.
As we gather for the Eucharist, we recall the Last Supper and share in Jesus’ saving death and Resurrection. Through the priest, we offer the bread and wine and all we are and have to God.
In the blessing, breaking and sharing, the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus, and Jesus shares himself with us in holy Communion. We then are changed and are to go out and bring Jesus’ love, peace and provision to a hungry world.