As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.”
But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
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. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In today’s gospel reading we are reminded about the capacity of man to care for one another. As the crowd listened to the words of Jesus, “he began teaching them.” The words of Jesus allow them to let down their guard. The actions of Jesus in blessing the bread brought them together to become a better community.
This story often reminds me of the children’s story “Stone Soup”. We all remember a traveler coming into a village that was locked inside itself for fear of giving away too much. The visitor began with just a pot of water and a stone. Each one of us has a little bit of seasoning that adds to the flavor of the soup. When the village was present and fear was no longer in their hearts, Jesus asked the community to “Go and See” if the people had anything to offer, and the miracle began.
—Terry Kult, ARPN, BS, serves as health care coordinator for the Jesuits of the Omaha and Minneapolis regions.
Lord, teach me to be generous, to serve you as you deserve: to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward, but that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, Click here for the downloadable prayer card.