Feeding the entire world

There is a show on television that is hosted by magicians Penn & Teller that is called “Fool us”. It is billed as a magic competition television program in which magicians perform tricks in front of the American magician-comedian duo. The point is to Fool them, to perform a magical trick that even Penn & Teller can not figure out. The competitors make things appear, disappear, fly, change shape … any of a number of things and usually the hosts will figure it out. There was a wire, a second prop, a marked card … whatever. To be honest, I never figure it out, it is all magic to me but there is consolidation in knowing that someone is out there to “catch them”.

It seems as though, there is an inherent switch in us humans that make us not like to be fooled. If it were real magic, that is one thing but if it is a trick, a conn, some slight of hand we don’t want them to get away with it.

When I was researching today’s gospel I looked up “loaves and fishes” and found an article titled “what is the scientific explanation behind Jesus’ ability to multiply food?” You know that I had to look into that article. As you can probably imagine, clicking on that link took me to a home refinancing app that took me 10 minutes to exit and delete all of the associate cookies. Going back in another way I found all sorts of possibilities; were the fish already dead? How big were the fish? What kind of fish were they? And there went 15 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

Let’s take a different approach, what do we know?

The story is the only miracle (the feeding of the 5,000), other than the resurrection, that is reported in all 4 gospels. Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6. As a matter of fact there was a second story, “The feeding of the 4,000”, that appeared in two of the 4 Gospels, Matthew 15, and Mark 8. We know that a large crowd had gathered to hear Jesus talk, or in John’s version to see him heal people, and it was getting late. The apostles wanted to disperse the crowd and send them home or to sleep in the countryside, and Jesus wanted for them to stay. He wanted to feed them, to care for them.

We heard the rest. All were fed and there was food left over. Amazing!!!! The simple message is that, ALL things are possible with God. I mean all things! Come on, 5,000 people! Even if they were only a little hungry. Depending on the version, the people were to gather into groups of about 50, meaning that there were 100 “small groups”. And only 5 loaves and two fish! You do that math.

So, there are only two possibilities, this was either a “Christian miracle” or it was a “Creator miracle”. A Christian Miracle means that the crowd was so moved by the word of Christ that they gave of what little they had. And in the end this Christian Charity was so overwhelming that all were fed and there was more left over. The Creator miracle means that the God of the universe, the God of all creation, the God of heaven and earth created all that was necessary from what little that they had. Again, in the end our God so loved them that they were given all that they needed and there was so much left over.

The fact is that this is not a trick for Penn & Teller to figure out. It is a miracle for our hearts to come to believe. It is said that with all things “knowledge can get you 98% of the way there”, but it is your faith that gets you the remaining 2%. An example is that I totally understand 98% of how my cell phone works, but it takes an extra 2% of faith to believe that all of these calls are flying around the sky right now. Our knowledge helps us to know that every single one of those 5,000 people we hungry for what Jesus had to offer them. “And looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves and gave it to His disciples to set before the people”. And this miracle happens over and over every day, in every church around the world. The miracle that should astound us is not how He fed the 5,000, or the 4,000 of the 100 groups of 50 but how He feeds us every day, on every alter around the world.

As we start a new year let’s begin with a new sense of wounder and awe. And all that we need is to make sure that we are always ready with that extra 2% of pure faith.

They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were … you fill in the number.

MK 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

January 4, 2022

January 4, 2022

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