After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.
Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?”In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks Philip how on earth the disciples intend to feed 5,000 people. The Greek that starts Jesus’ question — pothen (“from where?”) –is a favorite word in John’s Gospel. Time and again people ask Jesus where his authority comes from, where he is from, where the life-giving water will come from, etc. In this passage, Jesus turns the tables on his disciples, and on us. He empowers his disciples not with a command, but a question: how will you join Christ’s mission? We might consider our own meager stable of resources – talents, treasure, time – and how God is inviting us to put them to use for the good of the Kingdom of God.
From where they come is only the first half of the question. For the Christian, the question leads to another, to where and to what should my resources go?
—Fr. Joe Simmons, SJ, is a priest of the Midwest Province and a proud alumnus of Marquette University High School and Marquette University. He begins doctoral studies in theology and literature at the University of Oxford in October.
Lord Jesus, like the disciples in today’s Gospel, I come to you hungry. I hunger for a deeper connection with you. I want to take all that you have given me, and all you have taught me, and join you in your ministry. Guide me on the path that you desire for me. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!