|About St Jude|
|St. Jude Thaddeus Parish||Home|
Priests / Deacon
Catholic Information & Terms
Ministries to Youth
Religious Education Registration
Links of Interest
Forms and Flyers
The Roman Catholic Community of
Welcome to St. Jude Fr. Tom Phelan!
B R E A K O P E N T H E W O R D
2 Kgs 4:42-44 Eph 4:1-6 Jn 6:1-15
This weekend we turn our attention to the sixth chapter of John, and we should remind ourselves that this is Johnís Eucharistic narrative. John does not talk about bread at the Last Supper; for him, the washing of the feet is the symbol of Jesusí example of self-giving on that night. John begins this account differently from Mark and the others. He doesnít portray Jesus teaching the crowds. For John, Jesusí action of nourishing is the first teaching -- explanations will follow later.
Our Gospel story involves a variety of characters. First, Jesus looks at the mass of people. Then he brings Philip into the action, asking him where they can buy food to feed that crowd. Philip responds as a pragmatist, not-so-gently reminding Jesus of the limitations of their funds. Then Andrew enters into the conversation, saying that thereís a child who has five barley rolls and two fish. Altogether that adds up to seven morsels -- the number symbolizes completeness, but in this case it seems more like complete inadequacy.
Just when the disciples have pointed out the absurd limitations of their ability to respond, Jesus has them tell the people to recline in preparation for a feast. While thousands look on, Jesus took the food and prayed. John says that Jesus ďgave thanks.Ē That implies that he acknowledged that the food he held came from God and belonged to God. Once the child handed it over and Jesus gave thanks over it, it was recognized as Godís food, and it was therefore Godís goodness that the crowd was going to share.
Note well that no description is given of how the bread is multiplied. Did the sharing of the poorest folks that day move the others to share what little they brought with them? Was it like the manna in the desert that appeared at just the right moment? We are not told. The how of it is not the point John wants to make. The point is that God met the hunger of the people, beginning with the complete generosity of one of the least among them.
Some understand it like the miracle portrayed in the movies when bread shoots out of baskets like popcorn. That interpretation gives God the responsibility to do everything. Many people who know poverty see it a different way. People, who have passed the end of their rope and still survive, recognize this as an example of Divine Providence. They can tell story after story about how God sent someone at just the right moment: how someone found the money for rent on the morning before the eviction, how a donation came in at a critical moment at the communityís food pantry.... how God comes through again and again, through some often unsuspecting, usually unexpected, generous soul.
This story is good news because it tells us that God is concerned about people who hunger. It is good news because it reminds us that God can work wonders with the little we have if we are willing to give it all. It is good news because it reminds us that with God in our midst, we can always make a banquet out of what seems to be, on first blush, pretty poor fare.
Have a wonderful week. Take the opportunity this week to rest in the Lord.