Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Seven Pages/Seven Days
Day 5 - Mark 6:34-44 - The Feeding of the Five Thousand
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat." He said to them in reply, "Give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Are we to buy two hundred days' wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?" He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out they said, "Five loaves and two fish." So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and 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 they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate [of the loaves] were five thousand men.
Jesus and his disciples had purposely decided to go to a "deserted place"; a quiet place in order to rest. They had just completed a full day of ministry and were tired. As they approach the shoreline they see a vast crowd awaiting them. Imagine how surprised; perhaps overwhelmed the disciples were because they were naturally depleted; had expended all their energy and had "nothing more to give". Isn't this experience one that we have had as well? We are all called upon at times to go "beyond" what we think we are capable of doing. We are all called upon at times to be more than we think we can be-when there is a crisis or a difficulty as we respond to other's needs. What a reminder it is to know that out of the apparent "scarcity" of who we are; God can transform our efforts into "enough"-even more than enough-an overflowing abundance. I suspect that if we are willing always to go to that "deserted place" of prayer, we will always have enough; be enough --for God's grace is abundant. As Meister Eckhart, a Dominican mystic tells us, "Whatever God does, the first outburst is always compassion". Maureen E. Carey, Ph. D. Professor, Department of Social Work Molloy College
Saint of the Day: St. Finbar
He was the son of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal court. Born in Connaught, Ireland, and baptized Lochan, he was educated at Kilmacahil, Kilkenny, where the monks named him Fionnbharr (white head) because of his light hair; he is also known as Bairre and Barr. He went on pilgrimage to Rome with some of the monks, visiting St. David in Wales on the way back. Supposedly, on another visit to Rome the Pope wanted to consecrate him a bishop but was deterred by a vision, notifying the pope that God had reserved that honor to Himself, and Finbar was consecrated from heaven and then returned to Ireland. At any rate, he may have preached in Scotland, definitely did in southern Ireland, lived as a hermit on a small island at Lough Eiroe, and then, on the river Lee, founded a monastery that developed into the city of Cork, of which he was the first bishop. His monastery became famous in southern Ireland and attracted numerous disciples. Many extravagant miracles are attributed to him, and supposedly, the sun did not set for two weeks after he died at Cloyne about the year 633. His feast day is September 25th.
Multiplication of The Loaves and Fishes, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John's Bible, Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA.