The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth. He fulfils the desire of all that fear him, hears their cry, and saves them Psalm 145:18-19
O God, giver of life and health, whose Son Jesus Christ has called us to hunger and thirst for justice:
refresh us with your grace, that we may not be weary in well-doing, for the sake of him who meets all our needs, Jesus Christ our Saviour;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
- Genesis 32:22-31
- Psalm 17:1-7,16
- Romans 9:1-8 (9-16)
- Matthew 14:13-21
- Next week:
- Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
- Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22
- Romans 10:4-15
- Matthew 14:22-36
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 10 – Matthew 14:13-21
Jesus withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself … Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, Jesus said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.
The multiplication of the loaves and fish is the only one of Jesus’ miracles recorded in all four Gospels. The early Christian community especially cherished this story because they saw this wonder as anticipating the Eucharist and the final banquet in the kingdom of God. This miracle also has strong roots in the First Testament: For the peoples of both the First and New Testament, the image of a great banquet was an important visualization of the reign of God: the gifts of the land were unmistakable signs of their God’s great Providence; the Messiah’s coming was often portrayed as a great banquet with choice food and wines; the miracle of the loaves and fishes is a clear affirmation in God’s providence. Just as the merciful God feeds the wandering Israelites with manna in the desert, Jesus, “his heart moved with pity,” feeds the crowds who have come to hear him.
In Matthew’s account, Jesus acts out of his great compassion on the crowds. First, he challenges the disciples to give what they have – five loaves and two fish. Then he performs the four-fold action that prefigures the Eucharist: Jesus takes, blesses, breaks and gives the bread and fish to the assembled multitude, making of them a community of the Lord’s banquet.
Given the many demands on our time and the expectations of work and school, we need to make time for that “out of that way”: quiet deserts and sacred time where and when we can escape the clamour of the marketplace and the tyranny of our calendars to experience the peace of being alone with God, to listen to the voice of God in the quiet of our hearts, to know the joy of doing simple, humble things for others.
More astounding than Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is Jesus’ transforming them into a community, a community who becomes one in their need, one in the bread they share, one in the love of Christ who has brought them together. Christ calls us to become a Eucharistic people: to become the Eucharist we have received.
We, too, can perform wonders in our own time and place by imitating the four “Eucharistic verbs” of Jesus: to take humbly and generously from what we have been given by God, to bless by offering it to others in God’s love, to break from our own needs and interests for the sake of others, to give with joy-filled gratitude to the God who has blessed us with so much.
The bread of the Eucharist, which we share together in charity and faith, is a prelude to the great banquet of the next world to which our loving Father invites us.
The “fragments” that disciples gather are not to be lost; they are part of the miracle. We are all part of the body of Christ: there are no useless scraps, no wasted fragments: every one of us is a child of God, part of the body of Christ that is blessed, broken and shared at this table. We are only whole when every piece, ever fragment, is gathered.
You can read the Pew Sheet here