Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Feeding Multitudes with Five Loaves of Bread

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

Devotional thoughts for 5th Sunday after Pentecost

Gospel Reading: St. Luke 9:10-17

In today's reading we start with the report given by the blessed Apostles soon after their return from the first trial work in the mission field. In a very pleasant manner, they sit around their master and explained him what they saw and experienced. We could find a similar explanation given by St. Mark in his Gospel chapter 6: Vs 30-43.

When our Lord took his beloved Apostles to a desert place privately, a good number of people reached them soon. Among the crowd, a good number wanted to hear him and learn more about the kingdom of God and many others were longing for their own or their close ones' cure from illness. Our Lord knew that the crowd would be following them. See St. John 6:1, 5. Our Lord satisfied them all granting what they looked for.

The incident described in the following lines is well known to each and everyone of us. In the evening of a day, (might be after two or three days' continuous mission) the Apostles approached our Lord with a normal and ordinary request. "Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, lodge and get victuals: for we are here in the desert place." Can any one tell that our Lord was not cautious about the needs high lighted by the Apostles? The answer is very simple. He knew what is going to happen and what is to be happened. Our Lord answered "You give them to eat". When our Lord asked them so, did he not know that they had nothing with them? He wanted to search among the surrounding. When God Almighty has kept us in a position, he has arranged the resources we might need in the nearby locations. It is the duty of the creation to search for God's reserves. Now a days many of our parishes are giving much importance for the charity. It is a novel idea and many are doing the same in a most appreciable manner and way. When we would chart out a program for the social progress or so, we must find the resources also from our midst, instead of crying for funds. When and where we could arrange from our midst, there is no meaning in making complaints to God Almighty for not having enough funds/resources.

In the dry and arid deserts there are some bushes which might grow the maximum height of 10-12 inches. In a few bushes we could find that there is water in the stems of such plants. See what sort of arrangement is made by Lord God for the camels and other such desert animals. Now also our God is asking us to feed the poor, needy and downtrodden around us. Instead of taking something from our pockets, we could blame the Church, the clergy and the Church leadership. Recently when Chikunguinea appeared in central Travancorean districts, many wrote in the web Medias accusing the clergy and the Church. I am not advocating that the Church or the clergy have no responsibility in such emergencies. When we hear about a need of common nature or so, let us think what we could. We must listen well and identify what is the message of our Lord to us.

The blessed Apostles said "we have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people". When they said so, they were not sure that our Lord could do a miracle with the five loaves to feed more than five thousand men and nearly the same number of women and children. Yet they were willing to submit what they had. When God is asking you and me, we must submit what we have and we must wait to see what would happen to the thing in His hand.

Our Lord asked the Apostles to make them sit in fifties. This teaches that everything needs a proper system and discipline. In our Churches, our faithful often make a big rush when they move to the front to partake the Holy Communion or for the Kai Muthu before the final dispersal. Are we not educated enough to keep up the discipline? We should not forget that all our actions inside the Church are in the notice of our Lord.

See the 17th verse. "And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets." The number of the baskets teaches that the each basket was meant for each Apostle. They were supposed to continue the feeding mission in their own Churches.

May God bless us all.

See Also:

Abundance of God by Very Rev. Lazarus Remban

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