"By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
Again the disciples focus is on themselves and not the ones for whom Jesus had gathered them together. Their notion of meeting the poverty of the people is to send them away to take care of themselves.
Learn to Live Redemptively
"But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
Jesus begins to invite the disciples into a whole fresh new way of thinking and living, a life of participation and redemptive mission. Their eyes, hearts and minds are not yet opened and they do not understand. They have an accounting model- a model based on scarcity and not provision, lack and not leveraged love.
Answer the Question: What do you have?
"How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five--and two fish."
The invitation continues. He asks them to give what they have and in that acting to begin to participate in His mission by accepting his vocational invitation to the freely given sacrifice of a surrendered life of love. It is in that gift of self that they will bear the fruit that such a co-redemptive life bears. Then they will become sons in the Son.
Mediation and Multiplication
"Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. "
Jesus uses the matter given by men to manifest the manna of heaven. It is in the breaking (of both the disciples' self-centeredness and the bread of their personal sacrifice) that both the manifestation and the multiplication occur. Here where the leverage of love and the true economy of heavenly scale are demonstrated so that the mission of the Church may be inaugurated. The invitation and participation to the mission of Jesus is to be embraced freely by men and women whose eyes are opened.(See St. Luke 24:30)
Understand About the Loaves
"Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened."
Here the divine connection is made between "being" and "doing" -- they had not understood about the loaves. We will live the way we love. It was because of that lack of understanding that they succumbed to fear and were unable to navigate the waters of their lives and their missionary vocation. Once again, the Lord heard the cry of the poor as it issued from the mouths of his own disciples and He spoke these beautiful words: "It is I. Don't be afraid."
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Widows mite, economism, common good, money, talents, heaven, spirituality, prayer, love, God's love, Advent, year of faith, Deacon Keith Fournier
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