Understanding the Loaves
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Third Millennium, LLC
Keith A Fournier
Mark 6:30-52: (New International Version (NIV-IBS)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
Their focus is on themselves and 'their' accomplishments in 'their' ministry.
31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
His focus is on them and his identification with their need. He invites them to come with him into a new way of viewing themselves, their lives and the mission.
32So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd,he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
He is moved with compassion (to "suffer with" in the Greek), his attitude is always redemptive. His first act of love is to TEACH them. They did not understand who they were or who He was. This lack is their greatest poverty.
35By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. 36Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
Again the disciples focus is on themselves and not the ones for whom Jesus had gathered them together. Their notion of meeting the poverty of the people is to send them away to take care of themselves.
37But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
Jesus begins to invite the disciples into a whole fresh new way of thinking and living, a life of participation and redemptive mission. Their eyes, hearts and minds are not yet opened and they do not understand. They have an "accounting" model- a model based on scarcity and not provision, lack and not leveraged love.
38"How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five--and two fish."
The invitation continues. He asks them to give what they have and in that acting to begin to participate in His mission by accepting his vocational invitation to the freely given sacrifice of a surrendered life of love. It is in that gift of self that they will bear the fruit that such a co-redemptive life bears. Then they will become "sons in the Son"
39Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42They all ate and were satisfied, 43and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
Jesus uses the matter given by men to manifest the manna of heaven. It is "in the breaking" (of both the disciples' self- centeredness and the bread of their personal sacrifice) that both the manifestation and the multiplication occur. Here where the leverage of love and the true economy of "heavenly" scale are demonstrated so that the mission of the Church may be inaugurated. The invitation and participation to the mission of Jesus is to be embraced freely by men and women whose eyes are opened.(See, St. Luke 24:30)
Jesus Walks on the Water
45Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
The teaching continues in the invitation to mission and their placement in the "boat", a figure of the ark of the Old Covenant and the ark of the New, which is the Church. It is this Church, a communion of persons joined in Him, that He came to found and over which He will later install these men to continue His redemptive mission. But first they must understand. This kind of understanding can only come from "communion" with the Father. That is why He goes to the mountaintop to pray.
47When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw him and were terrified.
Again, He invites the disciples to believe, yet they flee to the familiar, the fear of the circumstances. In fact, so powerful were their fears that they prevented them from recognizing Him as He passed right before them! They thought He was a ghost! How crippling our fears and our unenlightened minds can become when we do not commune in prayer but rely on ourselves and our own human effort. It is to the "surrendered" life that they had been invited. It is there that we find our peace and provision.
51Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
Here the divine connection is made between "being" and "doing", "they had not understood about the loaves." We will live the way we love. It was because of that lack of understanding that they succumbed to fear and were unable to navigate the waters of their lives and their missionary vocation. Once again, the Lord heard the cry of the poor as it issued from the mouths of his own disciples and He spoke these beautiful words:
"It is I. Don't be afraid."
Keith Fournier is a married Roman Catholic Deacon, who also serves the Melkite Greek Catholic Church with approval. He is a human rights lawyer and a graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University of Steubenville and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. He is the founder of Common Good and was a co-founder of the Your Catholic Voice Movement.
Your Catholic Voice Foundation
http://www.ycvf.org CA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Founder, President, 661 869-1000
Jesus, Faith, Social Teachings
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