Friday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 5:34-42; John 6:1-15)
Once I met a Jewish friend on the day before Passover. He remarked that the feast provides an excuse for a party. He was being a bit irreverent, of course, but what he said hit the mark. Passover gives reason to rejoice as it celebrates Israel’s release from Egyptian slave gangs.
John the Evangelist notes that Jesus feeds the crowds at Passover time. This is not a detail to add realism to his story; rather, it frames the account in gold. It tells us that Jesus’ feeding the five thousand men and an untold number of women and children has a liberation theme. The people’s attention to Jesus frees them from helpless attachment to sin. Their participation in his supper gives energizes them for life’s journey. The fact that the people carry home leftovers underscores Jesus’ accomplishment.
We should find ourselves involved in this same process of liberation during the Eucharist. The Word of God prunes us of vices while the bread and wine, changed into Jesus’ body and blood, charge us with his life. Carefully attended to with prayer, the Eucharist allows us to feel in our lives the effects of Christ’s redemption.