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Today's Gospel reflection from Leo

Gospel John 6:1-15

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.

Recently I participated in a webinar that focused on our care for the earth. One of the panelists talked about the need for us to turn away from our consumption-based culture, with its signature belief that we still need more, even if we have enough…or more than enough. I thought about this comment as I reflected on today’s gospel. Here, Jesus and his disciples are faced with the predicament of what to do with thousands of hungry people? Should they send them home or provide for them? When pressed, the disciples came up with five loaves and two fish; this truly did not seem like enough to feed the crowd. They really did have a “human” reason to believe that they needed more. The five loaves and two fish were enough for Jesus, though, as he took what he was given and made it last for all of the people to eat their fill; there were even leftovers. The message for us? It’s simple, I believe: Jesus can fulfill our needs. We don’t have to buy in to a culture that says we always need more; the disciples really did need more, and look what happened…Jesus came through. After seeing what Jesus could do for this crowd, we know that we can be satisfied with what we have and ask Jesus to multiply it by his grace, should that be his will. One more thing. The disciples provided the “starter kit” for Jesus’ miracle, the first five loaves and two fish. That tells us, I think, that we have to take the first step and do the right thing. This is what is happening here in the Collaborative with the POWIR program and is what could happen in our country and the world if we are satisfied with what we have and provide for others, with Jesus’ grace.

Here's a song that affirms for us that we have plenty to share, Bread to Share by Marty Haugen:


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You keep him in perfect peace, 

whose mind is stayed on You,

because he trusts You. 

Isaiah 26:3