Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ ,
The Gospel , Saint John 6:1
We read about a wonderful multiplication of loaves. What a story. In the times we live in there still millions of people, who suffer from hunger.
What is the meaning of the Gospel story for them? What is their reaction to the wonderful multiplication of loaves? What do you do you,also in our time , with a God, Who frees His children from Slavery in Egypt, but then afterwards let His children die from hunger in the desert? No miracles with bread. What is the purpose of a God, Who puts ten thousand new people in the world, created according to His own Image and Resemblance, but let them die of hunger afterwards?
The Gospel of this morning must come across as an unrealistic fairy tail to hungle people. Jesus makes sures that there is bread for 5000 people and more.
Why does this not happen in our time? It is not that there is insufficient food in the world. Scientists have calculated that there is enough in the way of food, homes and clothings for all the people , who live in this world. How is it then possible that 15 Million people die of hunger and 140 Million people are underfed?
Is this wonderful multiplication of the loaves then not more then a common fairy tale? I think that the four Evangelists wanted to tell us something different. They find this occasion so important, this is then the reason that we come across this story in all the four Gospels.And not four times, but even six times! And this time it is not about a fairy tale, but the story is specially about Jesus, Who just returns from the desert, where He spent 40 days and nights fasting. And where He was temped by the devil.
"If you are the Son of God, then change these stones into bread.!" Then Jesus answered:" Man does not live by bread alone, but from each word that comes through the mouth of God." Jesus does not want to be a magician, Who through magic brings out bread from nothing. He wants to be with those, who in their daily lives have to sweat and work hard for their daily bread. He takes five loaves and two fishes, raises His eyes towards Heaven and breaks it for those, who have hunger. Just if He wants to say: I to be with you completely, not as food that is parishable, but as Breadfor Life Eternal. And if you understand that , then the miracle of breaking and sharing will commence just like that . Not until you dare to share with one another - in the Name of God - is God's interaction with people on earth possible.
On top of this Jesus says something very important to His Disciples:"Give them food to eat!" It is just if He talks to us: hunger in Africa?
Start sharing straight away! Then there will be enough for everybody! How do you get so much bread? Another question: how do we handle in living in our welfare state?. Are we thrifty and count everything ? Or we keep as much as possible in reserve? A nest egg perhaps? If you think in this way, well then you can forget about the miracles. Sharing never works. But you can also take action as Jesus does:" start to break and to share! Then we will see how far we will get.!"
Finally: nowadays , we purchase our bread ready and cut into slices. This cutting is something we used to do at home in the olden days. Before my mother cut the crust of the loaf, with a quarter knife she made a cross on the bread. She gave us an indication that she was convinced that everything good came from the Lord our God. This custom has fallen by the wayside. And most of us dont think it to be important say Grace before and after our meals. Well we have earned the bread ourselves and paid for it ourselves.But if we dont regarding our daily bread as a gift from heaven , then the desire to share the bread with others disappears, it is ours, we have earned it.
This wonderful multiplication of bread teaches us that Jesus is not a magician, a teller of fairy tales, not a man, who would entertain the crowds on a fun fair, but a man, Who unlike nobody else teaches us - that our daily bread - comes from the hands of the Father and is destined to be broken and shared - and in the Name of God!And if you dare to share, you will notice that get back in abundance.
Twelve baskets of remaining pieces.......
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church/ Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne