Give Thanks

Last Sunday Jesus and his disciples arrived by boat at what they thought was going to be a deserted place. Jesus is grieving the death of his cousin John. The disciples have returned from their mission of announcing the kingdom to the villages of Galilee. They are elated but exhausted. Instead, it is shortly before the Passover and rather than a deserted place, it is full of hungry people. So Jesus feeds them first with his words. In Mark, the disciples feel very proud of themselves: for once they have begun to think about the needs of the crowd. They go to Jesus and tell him the people need to eat. But the liturgy has flipped us over to the version of the story that John tells. We stay with John for 5 weeks of reflection upon the Eucharist. In John, Jesus is always in control. So he points out the need and asks the disciples as a test where they can buy enough bread for this crowd.

Philip – he only sees problems; Andrew sees a solution, even if it only involves cheap bread that is barely fit for animals. Jesus will take whatever we have to offer and do wonders with it.

Once the people are sitting down on the grass, Jesus takes the five barely loaves and two fish. He gave thanks (which is where we get our word for eucharist). He distributes the food to the people – as much as they wanted. When the people have had enough, the disciples gather up 12 baskets full of the fragments. The remnants of the meal must be gathered, because this meal has not ended – this is only the beginning.

When the crowd sees this sign, they declare Jesus to be the prophet coming into the world. He is the one who will repeat the gift from Moses of the manna in the desert. They want to make him their king. Jesus is their king, but he will only be king when he dies on the cross, not by becoming a military tyrant as they desire.

+ Jesus, you are the one who satisfies us with the gift of yourself. Help us to be like Andrew and give thanks for your amazing gifts to us. Amen.

Sunday 17, Year B. John 6:1-15.

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