Again, there were crowds…

” In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,a he summoned the disciples and said,

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.

If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”

His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”

Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied.

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd.

They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.

They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets.

There were about four thousand people ” ( Mark 8: 1-9 )

In this Gospel there are plenty of points of interest to share.. First, this story of the miracles that Jesus performed for us, was not just a sign of God;s love for us. It was a per-configuration of the Last Supper. and the Paschal Mystery.

Consider these things….

First, there were the crowds, ” In those days there were AGAIN a great crowd without anything to eat..” In this there is the idea that there were always people who came, people who needed to go to see Jesus. There was a never-ending stream of people who needed Jesus.

They were hungry. They were hungry both in body and in spirit. This had been the case before Jesus came, and to spite what had happened when Jesus was present with us, it is still true today. People hunger, they are hungry both for lack of food , even though there is food enough in the world to feed them, and they are hungry in spirit, even though Jesus came to give them spiritual life.

Jesus is moved with pity for the crowd. He knows they are hungry and that He can not send them home without trying to care for their needs, so that they will make it home safe and sound. In this same way, Jesus knew prior to His passion, that his disciples, would need strength for the journey they were to undergo that weekend, and throughout time until His return. He wanted to be sure that there was a way for us to make it through this spiritual journey, through the journey of our daily lives, and to arrive home in Heaven, safe and sound.

” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” …. The disciples who were with Jesus are sitting there trying to figure out how all this is going to happen. It seems like such a hopeless position to be in. There are so many people and so little they had to share. A hopeless position to be in, or so it seemed. Indeed, the same thing happened in His Passion. The disciples felt hopeless and it might not have appeared as though there was anything to be done.

Just as in this narrative, Jesus in the Last Supper also provided food for the journey. He gave us His body and His blood as food for the journey of our daily lives.

Just as in this narrative, there are crowds, hundred, thousands, millions of people who hunger, in body and in spirit. Sometimes, we are still the disciples who sit in despair and ask God, what are we to do, there are so many, and we have so little.

We are called to be Jesus to others. We are moved, with compassion for our brothers and sisters, who have traveled long and far in their journeys. On the road of life and they are looking for spiritual and/or bodily food for their journey. We are called to take what we have, our time, our talents, and our treasures, and provide for our brothers and sisters.

Sometimes, we are the crowds, we are still hungry, and tired from our own journey. We have been on this road, on this journey and we too are in need.

We are also called to be the loaves and fishes, where Jesus takes us, broken as we are, and provides a way for us to be the food for the journey of our brothers and sisters. It is however, like everything else on this journey, up to us, to choose to become what we have received.

In the words of one musician, ” Christ has no hands now, but yours…” Go forward today, and become what you have received.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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