Where Can We Get Something To Eat?
#WhereCanWeGetSomethingToEat is the podcast for July 29, 2018. When the Lord asks a question, how we answer says everything about our view of life and our understanding of our relationship with God. Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #John #John6 #Feedingthe5000 #Bread #Fish #Five #Two #Seven #The Twelve
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For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Fr. Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 7/29/2018 The 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read John 6:1-15.
“Where are we to buy bread for all these people to eat?” said Jesus. Before you answer that question, you may want to ask yourself, “Do I operate from scarcity or from abundance?” Are you a person who sees what is not available or are you a person who sees the possibilities?
If you are a person who cannot see what can be, you run the risk of not taking advantage of the possibilities. If you are a person who sees possibilities, you run the risk of getting involved in projects that have potential, but do not materialize. When you are a person of faith, the answer can have an impact on how you understand God in your life.
When Jesus asked, “Where are we to buy bread for all of these people to eat?”, he knew he was going to feed them. The question was, did the apostles believe that he would feed them with their help?
My mother told me about a month ago that when she decided that my violent father was too much, she had $100 in the bank. That is, $100 in the bank, eight children to feed with one more on the way, and her faith. She told me that she would pray every evening as she slept on the sofa in the living room so that her children would have beds. She said she would pray, “Lord, you have to see me through another day.” Then she would get up and think of one way that day that would bring some income to her family. My mother is now living in retirement with no financial burden. I cannot remember a time that we went without. I can remember powdered milk not being so great, but we never went without.
There is a combination here. There is faith in God, yes, but there is also human cooperation. We see this in the story from the Gospel of John. Jesus, who is both God and human, comes to reverse the refusal of Adam and Eve to cooperate with God’s plan. Adam and Eve decided that the Father’s plan for the Garden of Eden was not good enough. They needed to see and know more, so they did not cooperate. When they stopped cooperating, that changed everything. Jesus will reverse this lack of cooperation with the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane when he accepts the cup to renew all things. It is the full cooperation of the human Jesus with the Divine Jesus that makes him the New Adam.
Oh, happy thought!
Up on the mountain, the place where Moses, Elijah, and others meet God, closest to the heavens, it is here that we find Jesus with his apostles and five thousand others. They follow from across the large lake called the Sea of Galilee. They come and where it is different from the Gospel of Mark last week, Jesus does not act out of compassion, although he has compassion. He acts out of a need to instruct. He is going to use the apostles to make the five loaves and two fish feed the five thousand.
Using language that is central to the Eucharist, Holy Communion, Jesus takes the loaves, gives thanks, breaks the bread, and gives it to the people. They feed the whole bunch. When they are done, they collect twelve baskets full. Seven is the number of completion, like seven days in a week. Twelve is the people of God, like the twelve tribes of Israel. So, the people of God (the 12 apostles) take all that is needed to feed the five thousand people (the five loaves and two fish) and do the work of God: show Jesus to be more than a prophet.
The people got the message that Jesus was more than a prophet, but again, their response depends upon the kind of person they are. The people want to seize Jesus to make him King so that he can continue to provide bread and fish. Their interest is not in proclaiming Jesus the Messiah, the Savior of the World. Their interest is in making sure that they are taken care of well. It is the difference between being people of abundance and people of scarcity. Those who understand that God offers opportunity after opportunity, they do not have to capture Jesus and make him a vending machine for bread and fish. Those who trust in the Lord do not need to force him to be their earthly king. His mission is so much greater than just one nation. It is a mission for the world.
We, the people of God, are called to answer the call to take whatever five loaves and two fish we have, offer them to the Lord and do his work. The five loves and two fish can be a metaphor for any number of times or events in our lives. [Like the establishment of a new parish!]. What are the moments which are presented to you, to us? Do we see the hand of God in them? Do we understand that the Lord is calling on us to cooperate with him to do great things? We can know that they are of the Lord because they are not cruel. They are not vindictive things. They are things that feed others and lead them to Jesus Christ.
So, when Jesus asks us, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”, the answer is, “From you, Lord.” When we take the opportunities that the Lord puts in front of us and use them for his glory, then we take advantage of the power he gives us to make a difference in the world. We find our solutions in the abundance he provides. We ask, “Lord, help!” Then we need to look around. We need to be open and aware of his work around us. We need to remember that we are the people of God on a mission for the Lord. When we do, then, we too, can assist in feeding the five thousand. We can achieve great things. We just need to know the proper answer and disposition to the Lord when he asks, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” The provisions are in front of us. Do we see them? Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2018.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian