January 8, 2019
by Beth Samson
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday after Epiphany
Lectionary: 213

1 John 4:7-10
Psalms 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
Mark 6:34-44

Celebrating Christmas

Pope Francis on these readings in 2014

During my sophomore year of undergraduate studies, I was in a Synoptic Gospels course – one taught by a teacher who didn’t always have the most engaging delivery but did have challenging and eye-opening content. One day in class, we looked at this very passage from Mark. I had always understood this reading as “The Miracle of Magic”, but in class, we read this from another perspective, and soon it became “The Miracle of Sharing”. (I know having a favorite Gospel passage is like choosing a favorite kid, impossible, but if one could have a favorite or two, this would be one of mine!)

The Miracle of Sharing:

Five thousand men (a number that does not include the women and children present, so multiply that by at least three, if not four or five) had gathered to listen to Jesus and as the day had gone on, everyone was well overdue for a meal. The disciples suggested the people adjourn to go find their own food. Jesus dismissed this idea. Instead, he suggests the disciples feed the people themselves. Understandably, they look at Jesus in astonishment. Did Jesus forget how many people were gathered? The disciples went ahead and gathered what they had. Jesus blessed it, broke it, and shared it. The disciples were not the only ones who brought along some food. In witnessing the willingness of one to share with another, those gathered were moved to do the same. Is it impossible that Jesus could have magically made loaves and fishes appear to feed the thousands gathered? Of course not, Jesus could have absolutely done so! Is there some responsibility for us in this lesson of sharing? Definitely! When Jesus set the example of sharing what one had with others, others responded by doing the same. This led to, not only, everyone being fed, but to an abundance. There were leftovers – twelve baskets full of leftovers! When we share what we have with those around us, not only are the needs of all met, but ultimately, there is more than enough.

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