As Jesus went ashore, he saw a large crowd, and he had compassion on them for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
It was now getting late, so his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place and it is now late. You should send the people away and let them go to the farms and villages around here to buy themselves something to eat.”
Jesus replied, “You yourselves give them something to eat.” They answered, “If we are to feed them, we need two hundred silver coins to go and buy enough bread.” But Jesus said, “You have some loaves; how many? Go and see.” The disciples found out and said, “There are five loaves and two fish.”
Then he told them to have the people sit down together in groups on the green grass. This they did in groups of hundreds and fifties. And Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish and, raising his eyes to heaven, he pronounced a blessing, broke the loaves, and handed them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them.
They all ate and everyone had enough. The disciples gathered up what was left, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces of bread and fish. Five thousand men had eaten there.
Hunger, thirst and neediness are human experiences that evoke compassion from someone who loves. The image of a parent feeding one’s child speaks loudly of love. When Jesus feeds the hungry crowd, love is the message that comes across so powerfully. Parents who make the sacrifice of leaving their children behind in the care of their spouse or other relatives give one compelling reason: to be able to feed their families and provide a better future for them. This is how they want to show their love. Yet often, those left behind do not understand this as an expression of love. When Jesus challenged his disciples to feed the multitudes, in their objection, it is clear they were only thinking of the great cost of such an undertaking. Money is a good means for survival, but it may not always be the perfect solution. Jesus challenges us as he did the disciples to look at what we have, which may not seem enough, but when shared gratefully and managed wisely, it would be more than enough for everyone’s basic needs.
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