Friday of the Second Week of Easter
(Acts 5:34-42; John 6:1-15)
Pope Francis has criticized the “culture of waste” found in both rich and poor countries. He has called the way many people throw food away like “stealing from the table of the poor and hungry.” There are hundreds of millions of people who are undernourished while the rich and middle classes and often poorer people are growing obese. Not only is the situation ironic and scandalous, it also blinds one to Jesus’ work in the gospel.
Jesus producing a superabundance of food cannot be appreciated outside a culture where it is in short supply. In first century Palestine yields were a fraction of modern production and storage from pests a perennial problem. In today’s passage, however, Jesus takes just enough food for a small family, multiplies it, feeds a crowd of well over five thousand, and finds enough bread for a feast remaining. John the evangelist is showing why Jesus is the Son of God destined to rise from the dead. He pictures him here as a new Moses with many elements of the Exodus saga: mention of a sea and of the Passover feast, going up a mountain, and of course feeding legions with bread from heaven. The people in John’s story understand Jesus to the fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:18).
Following Jesus, we heed his command to care for the poor and needy. In this way, we look forward to his leading us beyond the enticements of this world to a realm of everlasting love. This is the fulfilment of his Easter promise. Death itself will not hinder us from reaching our deepest yearning for happiness.