2 Kings 4:42-44
A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God, twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits, and fresh grain in the ear. Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” But his servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.” “For thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'” And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the Lord had said.
Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
Probably many of us are not familiar with the story from the first reading, which is such a clear model for what Jesus does in the Gospel. Elisha is totally convinced of what God has asked of him. Jesus has total confidence in His Father. Religious history has many stories about God fulfilling the needs of those who trust in Him.
On the other hand, we know that God does not save everyone from starvation, nor from war nor from other evil happenings. People die in our own time from many evil happenings, including famine and war and terrorism.
Truly it is difficult to trust that God will watch over me and protect me and save me.
In the Gospel as in the first reading, there is no indication of starvation but only a group of hungry people. It seems as if the point of these stories is not that God stops famine and hunger, but that God feels us and that there is food left over.
In the 1970s and 1980s it was popular to explain these miracles stories in a way that made the miracle to be our generosity to one another. These people came to listen to Jesus and lots of them brought food, but they would not share it. The miracle was that God’s goodness softened to hearts of all these people to one another and they e began to share and with that sharing there was enough food for all and even some left over.
One can understand why this type of interpretation would be popular. We should all be aware that if we began to share the present resources of our earth with one another, there would still be enough to go around. Such a sharing would indeed be a miracle.
The point of the first reading and the Gospel, however, seems to be that God Himself will give us enough, directly. There have been saints who have lived in this kind of total confidence and trust. It is Jesus Himself who invites us first to listen to His Word and then to be fed by him.
Am I willing to listen to Jesus? Do I give Him any time in my daily life? Do I ask His help each day? These are the kinds of questions that immediately come to mind. If I think that I want to listen to Jesus, I have take time for him and I have to ask Him each day to be present in my life.
Once I ask Jesus to be in my life, I must begin to walk with Him, to live as He lived and to begin to think with His way of looking at the world. His way of looking at the world constantly challenges my own way.
May this Sunday celebration help me lose myself in the Lord and may it strengthen me in living in the way that He lived.