Gospel of John 6:1-15
The feeding of the five thousand
Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.
Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand people sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.
Have you ever noticed how true love always works out to be more than one can imagine?
I think of the most loving relationships and how they inevitably effect everything around them. They become more than just a couple. Love is more than the sum of its parts. If love is the driving force of cosmos, no wonder it is ever expanding. Loving relationships are ever expanding. Love for a loved one doesn’t even stop at death.
In this Gospel, I am drawn to imagine Jesus as pure love. Building relationships with those around him. The disciples, Philip, the small boy, Andrew, the five thousand people. I imagine the power of Jesus’ love and its effect on creation, on the fish and loaves. Love is in all things and between all things. Love is not static but can effect every element and atom.
I imagine this divine moment in creation. Jesus is fully awake to the power of love and invites those around him to witness it in a fullness that is hard to comprehend.
In today’s world, we are becoming more aware of the call to become more conscious. Especially the dire need to become more awake to the power of love, and understand its effects on and within relationships, not only with each other but also with all creation.
In my prayer I might gaze at the stars; or perhaps sunrise; or the vastness of a valley; a great tree or the ocean. I ponder with love and wonder.
I contemplate the interconnectedness and communion of love in all things.
I allow myself the freedom to surrender into love and let my imagination play in this large hope filled space. I consider what it might be like if we all allowed ourselves to play in this hope filled space and share the experience.
Already love is becoming more than the some of its parts.
True love is always grounded in service, placing the most vulnerable at it’s centre. I ponder the possibilities of loving action.
Love like this transcends time and space. I draw inspiration from Mary Ward, who knew this kind of love and its power to do good.
“It seemed to me then and that hope remains still, that Our Lord let me see it to invite me that way and because He would give me grace in time to arrive to such an estate, at least in some degree.” Mary Ward 1615 Excerpt from ‘The Just Soul’.