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Posts Tagged ‘multiplication of loaves’


Deuteronomy 30:11-14 & Luke 24:13-35: An Eternal Promise eucharist-5

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Eucharist: Thanksgiving represented in the gift of bread and wine we receive each time we share in Jesus’ liturgy. As Jesus gives thanks to the creator when he multiplies fish and loaves of barley, so too are we called to give thanks when we share in Christ’s presence in Eucharist.

For this command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. 

From the oldest stories of the Torah to the new life described in the Gospels, God has in mind a plan for our redemption. We are created in God’s image and we are given the freedom to choose a life of truth and light. At times we are able to follow Christ. At other times we betray his goodness and generosity. In his great love, Christ is patiently and repeatedly turning back for his lost sheep. The promise of the Old Covenant and the miracles of the Old and New Testament are continual reminders of this promise.

Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? 

In Deuteronomy God asks the faithful to love with a whole heart, whole mind and whole body. In the last words of Luke’s Gospel we hear and see the testimony of the Emmaus disciples that the risen Christ continues to fulfill God’s promise of redemption through his body and blood. The bread in the desert becomes the multiplied fish and loaves . . . and then becomes Christ himself. For this reason we look on these signs and wonders as more than metaphor. Christ rescues us actually and not symbolically. The Spirit resides is us really and not figuratively. God continues to guide and protect us truly and not allegorically. Of this we can be certain. Of this we can be sure. And God’s gift of daily Eucharist is the vehicle of this eternal promise . . . the Old Testament stories from the Torah and Kings are a foreshadowing of the promise incarnate in the Gospel Jesus.

Eucharist definition from: http://www.united-catholic-church.org/FAITH/catholic/def-euch.htm

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John 6:36-51: Some Left Over – Part IX

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Tabgha Church Mosaic: The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

Monday, August 10, 2015

It is inevitable, we know, that when light begins to call the faithful together darkness arrives, and so once Jesus announces his offering of eternal bread, the complaining begins.

Murmur not among yourselves: Jesus says to the grumblers and to those who saw him grow up in the carpenter’s family. They ask: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? And Jesus replies: Whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.

As this story unrolls to reveal God’s enormous love, where do we stand? Do we number among the grumblers to look past the risen Christ who stands before us, offering us the Eucharist as God’s eternal sustenance for an eternal life? Or do we follow this healer. Do we scatter the bread he breaks open? Do we tend to Christ’s sheep? Do we gather up all that is left over to share with those who have yet to arrive?

We look for answers to these questions as we compare varying versions of these verses. And we look for bread that will live forever, the bread that Christ gives for the life of the world.

To read about the restored mosaic in the ancient church at Tabgha commemorating the miracle of multiplication, click on the image above, or visit: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=10&Issue=3&ArticleID=1 

Tomorrow, words of eternal life.

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John 6:16-35: Some Left Over – Part VIIIloaves-fish

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel contains what is called the Bread of Life Discourse in which Jesus amplifies the miracle his followers have just witnessed, the multiplication of loaves and fish. Bracketed by this miracle and discussion of Jesus as eternal bread is a well-known story: Jesus walks across the stormy waters to rescue his friends from their swamped boat, saying, “It is I. Do not be afraid”. Now the disciples have ears that are ready to hear the love story Jesus wants to impart. The miracle of fish and loaves will expand at the last Passover meal Jesus will share with them to encompass the world in the Creator’s enormous embrace of love. The bread and wine that Jesus will part with them will become Christ’s body and blood. The multiplication of loaves, the breaking of bread and the offering of wine will be experienced in a momentary reality that becomes an eternal embrace of love. The miracles they have experienced – and those they will continue to experience – are more than mere metaphor. They are an act of love.

We search for the Living Christ just as the people do in verses 22-24), and when we ask: “When did you get here?”  Jesus tells us: You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life.

Explore verses 22 through 35 and compare various versions to discover what Jesus’ words mean to us on this day in this time. When and where do we find eternal sustenance? How and why do we seek eternal bread? With whom do we share our own stories of encounters with the resurrected Christ? And what changes can we imagine in our little lives that will lead us to unity in Christ’s eternal life?

Tomorrow, murmuring.

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John 6:1-15: Some Left Over – Part VIIfive-loaves-of-bread-and-two-fish

Saturday, August 8, 2015

John’s recounting of the multiplication story brings us even more insight and perhaps answers to questions raised over the last several days. Is this a miracle of greed becoming generosity or does Jesus actually multiply bread and fish? Why does God bring together so many in need? Why does Jesus ask the apostles to provide food when he knows they do not have the funds to do so? How is it that the Spirit heals so generously and so completely?

A large crowd followed Jesus and his disciples because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.

God’s response to our many needs to walk among us as one of us. Let us pray that we leave our hearts and minds open to this presence.

“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Jesus said this to test Philip, because he himself knew what he was going to do.

Jesus’ instruction of those closest to him is constant and loving. Let us pray that we treat others with this same respect and dignity.

When they had their fill, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted”.

The Spirit’s power to heal cannot be overestimated. Let us pray that we have the foresight to honor the Spirit as we ought.

So they collected the fragments, and filled twelve baskets from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world”.

And so we pray as we explore God’s word.

Tintoretto: The Miracles of the Loaves and Fishes

Tintoretto: The Miracles of the Loaves and Fishes

When we encounter God’s generosity, we pray for humility so that we might give thanks for this enormous gift.

When we come upon Jesus’ warmth and presence, we pray for clarity so that we might follow wherever the path of discipleship leads us.

When we receive the Spirit’s healing, we pray for confidence so that we might join him in his loving response to pain and need.

We pray as we reflect on this well-known story of God’s presence in our lives. And we do this in Jesus’ name, in union with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tomorrow, bread of life. 

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Luke 9:10-17: Some Left Over – Part VImultiplication-of-loaves-and-fishes-c-osseman

Friday, August 7, 2015

Once more we read about this miracle of feeding thousands. Some say that the true miracle was that, moved by Jesus’ words and hunger pangs, the crowd pulled food secreted in pockets that they ordinarily would not have shared. This version of this story rests on several points: 1) those following Jesus were a greedy lot, 2) Jesus’ amazing words that moved the crowd to uncharacteristic sharing have been left out of the six Gospel descriptions of these events, and 3) the crowd not only shared their food but donated their leftovers to some unknown recipients. We might spend a lifetime debating these arguments, or we might instead reflect on the points above in the following way as Luke suggests.

God the Creator gives us far more than we can ever hope to equal. Today we give thanks for God’s immense generosity.

Jesus our Brother offers us an intimate relationship of sustenance that we can never hope to exceed. Today we give thanks for Christ’s redeeming love.

The Holy Spirit brings us an outpouring of healing and consolation that we can never hope to surpass. Today we give thanks for the Spirit’s abiding patience and persistence.

Examining the citation using the scripture link above, we determine to show generosity, love and patience to our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Tomorrow, John’s story of multiplication of generosity, love and patience.

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Mark 8:1-10: Some Left Over – Part Vdownloadmore fish and loaves

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Although some scholars believe that these descriptions of four and five thousand are the same event, there are those who believe that Jesus des large crowds on a number of occasions. Each of us has the opportunity today to reflect on the times we have been nourished by his presence.

We use the scripture link to bring a fresh perspective to familiar details, and reflect on the following points.

Despite knowing that the apostles do not have the money to feed so many, Jesus offers his apostles the option of giving of themselves before he steps in. What actions have we taken that rob others of an opportunity to serve?

Perhaps knowing that the apostles question the need to feed so many, Jesus speaks openly of how his heart is moved with pity for the crowd. What actions can we perform that affirm our own interest in serving God’s people?

Understanding that the act of sharing asks us to give more than we may receive, we look for opportunities to advocate for those who go hungry through no fault of their own. What social action can we take today in the name of Jesus Christ?

This miracle is also described in Matthew 15:32-39

Tomorrow, how does Luke tell this story of God’s abundance?

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1 & 2 Kings: Some Left Over – Part III

Elijah Fed by Ravens

Elijah Fed by Ravens

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

When we study the stories of Elijah and Elisha we find that with their miracles of sustenance for the marginalized there is always something left over. Their acts of mercy foreshadow Jesus’ acts of mercy in the New Testament.

Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath: In 1 Kings 17 Elijah predicts a great drought. He moves east to rest, as God recommends, and rests near a stream where ravens bring him bread and meat. After a time the water dries up and so Elijah follows God’s voice as it counsels him to move to another place to stay with a particular widow. What follows when the prophet resides with her is a story that gives us counsel about what we might do when we find ourselves searching for solutions to problems that for us are enormous, but that for God are quite ordinary. When we use the scripture link to explore different versions of this story, for find that solutions to our own dilemmas appear – and we also find that when God provides, there is always something left over to share with others.

Aert de Gelder: Elisha and the Widow of the Prophet

Aert de Gelder: Elisha and the Widow of the Prophet

Elisha, the Widow’s Oil, and the Multiplication of Loaves: In 2 Kings 4 Elisha helps the widow of a God-fearing man whose creditors want to take his two children as slaves in payment for an unpaid debt. Miracles follow when Elisha follows God’s advice. Later in this chapter we see the renewal of life through resurrection, and transformation of a poisoned stew. More miracles follow in subsequent chapters and again, comparing varying versions of these stories using the scripture link brings us a fresh perspective of stories we may have heard many times. Ultimately, the message remains . . . when God provides, there is always something left over.

Tomorrow . . . Matthew’s story of the loaves and fish.

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