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John 6:1-15

The Word of God

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 towards 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.

John 6:1-15
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In today’s Gospel Jesus performs the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. It is, of course, a symbol of the Eucharist; there are deliberate signals that this is so. This incident is memorable, but it pales in significance when compared to the wonder of the Eucharist. Try to devote some time to seeing the occasion, speaking to the participants and drawing fruit for yourself and your life.
    • The small offering of the young man fed the people. God can make much of what we offer. Our attempts to live in his love and follow him are nothing without him. we never know where our efforts to love, to help, to support others may bear fruit.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In this miracle, Jesus works with the little the apostles have to feed the multitude. Through his actions he reveals how God is towards us: nourishing, caring, lavish, and concerned for all our needs.
    • God also expects us to come to the aid of one another, and to share what little we have. Saint Teresa of Calcutta said about Jesus, “He uses us to be his love and compassion in the world in spite of our weaknesses and frailties.” I pray for the courage I need to risk giving even the little that I have.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This scene provides a revelation of the sort of person God is! Our resources are never enough, but God has limitless resources, enough for us to do what God wants done.
    • Jesus reveals the God of abundance, but notice that the focus is on the poor and the needy, not on making rich people richer. Jesus needs my help in caring for those at the bottom of the human pyramid. This is the theme of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The miracle Jesus performed with the loaves and fishes convinced the large crowds who were following him that he was the prophet they were seeking. His teaching, healing, and feeding of the multitude made a profound impact on them and revealed his divine presence.
    • Jesus is present in the everyday encounters of my life. He is present in those I meet every day; and especially in the poor, the marginalised, and those in need of my help. When I open my heart and reach out in compassion and love to them, I am also meeting Jesus.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus was able to live in a community of ritual and tradition; he accepted it but called people to see more deeply. As Passover approaches he moves the people he meets on the hillside to appreciate its meaning in a profoundly new way, one that would connect them, not just with the past, but with their neighbours and with a broader community. For some, the miracle was for that moment and demanded that Jesus be made King. For Jesus, it was a threshold to prayer, an invitation to spend time with God.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Men, women and children sit on the grass, innocently eating as much bread and fish as they wanted. Jesus works with the little people to feed the multitude. Through his actions he reveals how God is towards us: nourishing, caring, lavish, and concerned for all our needs.
    • Lord, the hunger of the world screams for my attention. But what can I do? Give me a willingness to go beyond myself, to share my little resources towards building a community where people love and care for one another.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This miracle reveals the heart of God, who cares about our every need. God also expects us to come to the aid of one another, and to share what little we have.
    • I enter in imagination into this amazing scene. I share Philip’s puzzlement; I watch the little boy as he gives up the lunch his mother made for him. I gaze at Jesus as he prays, then as he breaks the bread and the fish. It takes so long to feed everyone, but he is smiling as he works. He fills my empty and grubby hands too, and I look into his eyes and thank him.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Where do I place myself in this wonderful scene? In the crowd? With Philip and Andrew? With the boy who risks letting his lunch go? Do I offer what little I have? Do I hold out empty hands for bread and fish? Do I help tidy up? Do I catch on to what has happened? Do I go with Jesus as he escapes ‘into the mountain’?
    • Jesus, you do not want to be ‘king’. You dream of a community where everyone is equal. You want no one dominating. You want everyone to feel accepted and respected. Reveal to me ways in which I dominate. Do I think I am better than others? Can I admit when I’m wrong? Don’t let me play at being ‘king’!
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • The message of Jesus reaches into the depths of our humanity, into those spaces of life where we dance and sing, laugh and cry, mourn and despair, hope and love, and where everything deeply human dwells within us. Jesus also pours the living water into that space and speaks an eternal word. In prayer we can say ‘You have the message of eternal life.
    • The young boy had enough food only for himself; the food was the food of the very poor - the barley loaf. Given with love, it seemed to multiply. Whatever the meaning of this miracle, one of its lessons is that God can make much of what we offer. Our attempts to live in his love and follow him are nothing without him. The small offering of the young man fed the people; we never know where our efforts to love, to help, to support others may bear fruit.
    • The boy with the small lunch seems to have had little to offer, but what he brought fed the crowds. We often feel that we have little to offer in the service of Jesus. His work now depends on our co-operation with him. What is offered in love - though it looks small - can have large effects. Our prayer time is our daily offering of love and care for others in the immediate circle of our lives and a connection to the larger world of neighbourhood, country and universe.
    • 'A large crowd kept following him': am I in that crowd? Hidden in the middle? Do I risk standing out, being seen by others? Being seen by him?
    • The Passover, recalling how the Israelites were fed with manna in the desert, is 'near'. Jesus is giving a sign here of who he is, the new Moses, leading those with faith in him into true freedom. I mingle with the crowd, observing what happens around me, accepting his overwhelming bounty, watching him relate to each individual person.
    • The crowd had motives for following Jesus - physical healing for themselves or their loved ones, the political liberation they thought he had come to bring. What are my motives? What is he offering me?
    • It seems natural to calculate and understandable to feel that the resources available are not equal to the demands being made. I ask God to help me when I am inclined to despair, to give me heart and hope.
    • The meagre rations that were available were enough. I pray for the courage I need to risk giving even the little that I have.

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