After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Life after the resurrection of Jesus was not as easy as one would think. The Sanhedrin were feeling threatened by the Apostles. Their focus was on proclaiming Jesus Christ. What about the Apostles threatens you?
The Church today is invited to remember, through the Gospel of John (6:1-10), a time when Jesus fed the large crowd. They didn’t know how to respond to Jesus’ compassion for the crowd. They didn’t know what to do after Jesus fed them and collected the fragments. Their interest continues to be in trying to focus on Jesus, but they kept drifting back to focusing on their own desires.
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Gamaliel’s advice offers a good invitation. “For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5: 34-42)
Jesus knows enough to keep drawing us into compassion and care for others. Is Jesus’ love and compassion the driving example in your life? Do you look to feed those who are drawn to you in desire for love of the Risen Jesus?
—Fr. Kevin Schneider, SJ is the director of adult spirituality programs at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE. He is a spiritual director and offers parish missions and retreats in the style of Ignatian Spirituality.
Eternal Father, confirm me,
Eternal Son, confirm me,
Holy Spirit, confirm me,
Holy Trinity, confirm me,
My one and only God, confirm me.
—from the Journal of St. Ignatius Loyola