This Week's Focus: The Loaves and Fishes
Proper 13 Year A
Matthew 14: 13-21
The miracle of the loaves and fishes is a tale we have heard over and over since childhood. It is the only miracle recounted in all four gospels. Yet despite its familiarity, its full meaning often escapes our understanding.
Was it simply a crowd pleaser to throw in a meal for the multitude? Was it only a parlor trick on a divine scale to wow the faithful and confound the skeptics? Doubtless the miracle served both purposes, but in all of Christ’s words and actions there is a single, deeper message: God loves us. And Christ is literally the embodiment of that love. Where we see scraps, he can create abundance. Where we see emptiness and depression, he can create profound fulfillment and boundless joy. In his love we are nourished and protected. He is the bread of life.
The multitudes didn’t have to come back for seconds either. They were filled and there was enough left over for doggy bags – twelve baskets full. What a perfect analogy for God’s love – the bottomless well, the endless buffet.
Each one in the multitude was human. They, like all of us, had primitive survival instincts that ask: Where’s my share? Why didn’t I get that piece? Yet each and every one went away satisfied. God does not love us as a multitude… a mere category of his creation. He knows and loves each and every one of us in our own personal failings and foolishness. He has a plan for each one of us and more than enough love to fill your basket and mine to overflowing. In that blessed assurance, let us: taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Ps 34:8
Faithfully yours in Christ’s love,
The Reverend David F. Sellery, Rector
St. Peter’s By-the-Sea, Bay Shore, New York
Image Copyright © Jean and Alexander Heard Library and the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, a division of the Heard Library, 2007.
Text taken from The online Revised Common Lectionary is a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, a division of the Jean and Alexander Heard Library.