May 29, 2016 - Feeding the Multitude

Now the men numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples,
"Have them sit down in groups of about fifty."
They did so and made them all sit down.
Then taking the five loaves and the two fish,
and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them,
and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.  They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.

Luke 9:15-17

It may seem that this passage is either about magic or morality.  Either it is intended to show Jesus was capable of incredible miracles, or it is intended to be a powerful moral lesson about sharing.  (E.g.: moved by Jesus’ good example, the crowd added bread and fish to the communal basket as it was passed around).  In fact, it was likely a literary device deliberately imitating the story in 2 Kings 4 where Elisha multiplies four barley loaves to feed one hundred men. How likely is it that the message of the great prophet Elisha was that we need to share more?  Did the Creator of the Universe become Incarnate to encourage more sharing?  I think both stories were meant to convey the abundance of God's loving concern for us.  We don't have to fight over God's attention like it is a scarce resource.  The fact that God loves you doesn't mean there is less for me. Faith can be open, welcoming, and totally accepting. It seems so simple and yet we prefer to use this story to divide each other into people who share and are acceptable to God and people who don't share and are less acceptable.