JAN. 5. CHRISTMAS SEASON. MK. 6. 34-44
Updated: Jul 24
As Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length. By now it was getting very late, and his disciples came up to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place and it is getting very late. So send them away, and they can go to the farms and villages round about, to buy themselves something to eat.’ He replied, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ They answered, ‘Are we to go and spend two hundred denarii on bread for them to eat?’ ‘How many loaves have you?’ he asked. ‘Go and see.’ And when they had found out they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people together in groups on the green grass, and they sat down on the ground in squares of hundreds and fifties. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing; then he broke the loaves and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the people. He also shared out the two fish among them all. They all ate as much as they wanted. They collected twelve basketfuls of scraps of bread and pieces of fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
The primary lesson here is how God cares for his people and provides for all their needs! “He took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd” and the reason for this concern is given in today’s first reading (1 Jn. 4. 7 – 10) namely that “God is Love”.
Love is the art, or the “state” of putting the needs of God or neighbour ahead of our own needs or interests; - and this is what Christ is bearing witness to here; - and what the entire Old and New Testament bear witness to; - the Love of God for his people; - despite the simple fact that we are all sinners!
“They were like sheep without a shepherd”, or, to put it another way; - they were in need of a leader, or someone to “show them the way”, which is one of the primary reasons Christ became man; - to care for us and to show us the way to happiness and peace; - not just in this world, but in eternal life.
Christians need to reflect more frequently on the fact that God’s motivation in sending his only Son to become one of us, and to dwell among us for thirty years, is Love, with today’s reading providing only a “snapshot” of this divine love, just as the feeding of the five thousand provides a “snapshot” of the way God has chosen to feed his people via the Holy Eucharist.
Everything God does is motivated by Divine Love, a simple truth that Christians frequently overlook! The reason acknowledgement and recognition of this “Divine Love” is so important is because it requires a response from those who receive this gift!
If we do not recognise and acknowledge God’s Love then we will be unable to respond appropriately which is a tragedy, as the reason for our creation, our duty as God’s People, is to “Know, Love and Serve God”; - the God who created us; - out of Love!
In this reading Christ, by his actions, is revealing this Divine Love, just as he did with all his other miracles. He is bearing witness, firstly, to his Divinity, and secondly to his love and concern for his sinful people, as it is critically important that we are aware of both. It is only when we have this awareness of God’s Love that we will respond in the way He wants us to; - by Loving God and Neighbour; - which He called; - “The Great Commandment”!
Gospel Acclamation Luke 4:18
The Lord sent me to bring Good News to the poor
and freedom to prisoners.