Sunday, 3 August 2008

The Gospel of Today: vijf loaves, two fishes and vijfthousand men

In the gospel of today we read the story in which Jesus gives five thousand with men to eat with five loaves and two fish and "they all ate and were satisfied". (Mt 14:13 - 21). This is one of many miracles which Jesus performs. It is also one of the stories where eyebrows are frequently raised. I have people hear speaking concerning this story who said that it is in fact a tale of sharing. That all people themselves had food with them, and that they shared everything together and then there was enough for everyone.

Now, I agree that sharing is an important aspect of this story, but then in sharing at the table of the Lord. This is foreshadowing of the Eucharist, the breaking of the bread, and the communion of all people together from the one source. By reducing this wonder to an ordinary picnic we miss the important message of sharing from the one source, the all giving God!

Also, I do not get why some people have problems with the fact that Jesus shares the five loaves and two fish with the five thousand? Don't we believe in one god, who has made the heaven and the earth? Where is the problem then that this God gives five thousand people to eat? This is the God who has made everything we see and keeps all things in being! If we raise our eyebrows at such a tale I think we should firstly question ourselves and see where we really believe in, and what our image of God is!

Finally I want to look at the first line: "Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart". Jesus heard that John the Baptist, His cousin, was decapitated because he preached the Truth, and He wanted to be alone to pray. We see him frequently going to pray (Mt 14:23, Mk 6:46, Lk 6:12) and we see here again that it is important to pray. That it is important find a place where we can be quiet so that God can speak in the silence of our heart. In this case we see that Jesus wants to be alone to accept the news, to get consolation through his prayer, his communication with the father, and to get the strength to continue and to proclaim the good news.

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