Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Feeding the Multitudes
There are many famous, well-known Gospel readings, and today's Gospel reading is one of the Gospel readings that most people know or have heard of. Many of the actions that Jesus takes in the Gospels show how much He cares for and wants to help us. Many of us enjoy it when others help us with a tough task at hand, but do we help others as much as they help us? Take some time to think of an instance when you have truly helped someone who was suffering.
As I mentioned above, today's Gospel reading is very famous, it is the feeding of the multitudes. However, interestingly, there are two instances of this miracle in the Gospel of Mark and Matthew. The first instance in both of these books involves Jesus using 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed 5000 people, but the second instance involves Jesus using 7 loaves of bread and a few fish to feed 4000 people. Luke and John do not mention this second miracle. It is almost like we get a double helping of hearing about the love and compassion that Jesus shows for us.
The Gospel starts with Jesus returning from talking with the Disciples to meet the needs of a crowd that was forming. The crowd had brought all the sick people from the town so that Jesus could heal them. This shows the great faith that the people in the crowd had, for they cared about the less fortunate. However, they were still amazed when Jesus healed the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others.
Then the Gospel mentions that Jesus recognized the needs of the people, for they had not eaten in three days time. However, the people did not complain about the lack of nourishment, Jesus, like his father, knew the needs of his people before they even said anything. Nevertheless, the Disciples showed another example of a lack of faith, for they did not trust that Jesus would take care of the people. They asked Him how they would be able to obtain enough bread to feed all of the people, assuming that they would have to get the bread through natural means. They assumed this even while the whole crowd showed faith in Jesus by bringing their sick to Him, trusting that He wwould help them with their suffering. The Discples were even with Jesus when He had fed 5000 people, and yet they still did not believe. This can happen in our lives as well. Sometimes we are too distracted by the consequences of certain obstacles that we do not trust that God will protect his children. Jesus realizes that, like the Discples, we are also still learning to let go of our fears. Jesus does not reprimand the Apostles, but he does expected more out of them than younger Christians because they have witnessed his works.
Out of the seven loaves of bread and the few fish that the Apostles had, Jesus blessed, broke, and gave it to the Apostles so the they could hand it out to the crowd. Much like the loaves, we are also blessed, broken, and given by God. We blessed with many great talents and skills, so that we may spread the Good News of the Lord. We are broken by God, so that are made innocent and sincere like children. Finally, we are given to others so that we may help them see the truth and and love that God has to offer. The food satisfied the entire crowd and there was a surplus, so that some was left over.
Sometimes you might not realize it, but God cares about us and wants to see us succeed. This is seen perfectly in this Gospel reading. This Gospel reading is definitely a 'feel-good' classic.