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.
As a child I remember having elbow macaroni and whole kernel corn for supper and wondering to myself why anyone would think this was a good meal? At the time I assumed my parents liked it. It didn’t dawn on me that they were trying to feed the dozen of us around the table while still making ends meet.
Today’s Gospel witnesses the bounty of fish and bread that is produced when Jesus blesses what the people have, and the crowd’s amazement leads them to want him as their king. Jesus as Messiah, however, was not sent to gain earthly prestige and power as the crowd imagined.
Just as that supper puzzled me, so Jesus puzzled others with his humble, suffering life. Why would anyone think macaroni and corn was a good supper? Or, choose humility and suffering? With time, however, the love of each choice is realized and celebrated.
—Fr. Chris Manahan, SJ, is director of the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago, near Oshkosh, WI.
Jesus, I do not know who I will meet today, what situations I will face today, where I will go today, when I will need you today, or why you have placed me where I am today. But with you by my side I am blessed, and what I have will be more than enough to meet your call, others’ needs, and my deepest desires.
—Fr. Chris Manahan, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!