Tuesday after the Epiphany
(I John 4:7-10; Mark 6:34-44)
Eating until all “were satisfied” describes many households after the Christmas holidays. But perhaps eating until all were more than satisfied tells a more accurate story. Many feel relieved that holiday goodies are finally diminished. Now they can more easily control their diet. It may seem that today’s gospel’s feeding story is primarily about food. But the fare that Jesus provides is really greater.
Jesus sees that the people are in need of instruction. They are lost like “sheep without a shepherd.” He spends the day teaching them “many things.” Much more than giving catechism answers, he teaches them how to live righteously. That is, he instructs them how to love wisely both God and neighbor. The story of the feeding comes at the end as a symbolic expression of his lessons. As Jesus feeds the people with bread, he has nourished their souls with wisdom.
We are sensitive to the hungry. Fortunately, the numbers of hungry people in the world continue to decrease. It is said that there are more people obese in the world today than hungry. Yet people still starve to death. They do so because of war and other forms of pride and hatred. We Christians should follow our Lord by teaching care for one another. The lessons begin at home with our families. They extend wherever we go and beyond to the people we pray for.