From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: Jesus feeds the crowd of more than five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish.
Summary: In today’s reading, there is clearly a reference to the story of Elisha that we heard in the first reading, but Saint John clearly indicates that Jesus is much greater than Elisha. We see the virtue of encouragement illustrated through Jesus’ interaction with Philip and the other apostles. Jesus encouraged the disciples to trust that God would work through the elements provided. Some scripture scholars have suggested that an even greater miracle might have been that all the people present shared what they had with one another without worrying about their own needs.
Scripture: When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
Jesus and his disciples got into a boat and sailed across a lake. When they reached the other side, they went up onto the side of a mountain and sat down to rest. But when Jesus looked, he saw a great crowd of people coming toward him. They wanted Jesus to teach them and heal the sick. So, that is exactly what he did. He healed the sick and taught the people about the kingdom of heaven.
Soon it was time to eat. Jesus asked one of the disciples whose name was Philip, “Where can we buy enough bread to feed all of these people?” Philip answered, “Eight months wages wouldn’t buy enough bread for each person to have one little bite!” Andrew, another one of the disciples, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus told the disciples to bring him the loaves and fish and to tell everyone to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the loaves and fish and looked up to heaven and gave thanks. He then gave the food to the disciples to give to the people.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for your goodness. You give us all that we need and more. We thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life. Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: When have you backed down from sharing your opinion because you thought you were too young?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Written by Dr. Seuss
Family Discussion: Parents may sympathize with the disciples’ protests when Jesus asks Philip where food might be found for the crowd. In the responses of both Philip and Andrew, we hear feelings of inadequacy as they survey their limited resources in the face of such great need. We may sometimes share these feelings about our own material possessions or our emotional and spiritual resources in the face of our family’s needs. This is a Gospel of hope for these times, which are all too frequent in parenting and family life. As Jesus made the five barley loaves and two fish sufficient to more than meet the needs of over five thousand people, Jesus will also work with what we have to provide for our family’s needs. When we offer our efforts to God, we ask him to transform them so that they will be more than adequate to the tasks and needs before us. As you gather as a family, talk together about the things that your family needs, starting with the basics—food, shelter, safety, and so on. Continue by naming other things that a family needs to be happy and healthy—time together, cooperation, patience, and so on. Observe that sometimes we can feel like we don’t have enough of the things that we need or want. Read together today’s Gospel, John 6:1-15. Talk about how Jesus provided plenty of food for the crowd with just five barley loaves and two fish. We have faith that Jesus will also take what we have and make it enough to satisfy and fill all our needs. We ask for this blessing when we offer to God the work of each day in prayer in the Morning Offering. Pray together the Morning Offering, asking God to bless and make fruitful the work of each of our days.