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.
God provides! That is the message of the readings today, even though we probably find it difficult to believe. When we look at our world and see so many people hungry and even starving, when we see droughts and famines, when we see violence on every side—how can be believe that God will provide? This is such an enormous question today and probably most people simply no longer believe in a God.
There are some interpreters of Scripture who would say that the miracle would be if those of us who had food would share it. That would indeed be a miracle! But it does not seem to be what is happening in our readings today. Rather, God seems to multiply food so that there is enough for everyone to eat and be filled—and there is still food left over. This is a story of abundance, not of having just enough.
We need to remind ourselves, of course, that God is never promising to anyone that He will give free food to everyone all the time. There is no promise that everyone who prays will somehow get enough food. Instead, these two miracles are the kinds of miracles that we see happening around us: there are people who are cured of cancer, people who are cured of other diseased, people who are cured of emotional problems and people who have other kinds of miracles. But they are rarely people we know and so we often have our doubts about miracles.
Our whole faith tradition tells us that miracles happen, and yet today so many have difficulties in believing that. It would be wonderful if each believing Christian here present would actually have the experience of seeing a miracle happen: some miraculous cure, some totally impossible situation change, something that could convince that God does act, even today.
Another deeply important aspect of today’s readings is that the people want miracles and that they hunger for God’s word, not just for physical food. Probably we also want miracles and would love to hunger for God’s word! May that Word form us today and help us walk in the way of our God and see the world always in the perspective of God’s word.