Have you ever been preparing for party and during the prep you notice you forgot something. Maybe you forgot the chips, or the salsa, or both. Regardless, in that moment when you know that you forgot something, you begin to feel much like the apostles did today. “How on earth am I going to pull this off.” Luckily, Jesus was there to save the day.
In preparing this reflection I noticed something, the Gospel today is about Jesus feeding the 5000. Apart from the passion and resurrection of Jesus, this is the only miracle that happens in all four Gospels. Obviously, this is an important thing. Why?
It is because this is where it all starts. Not only is Passover close at hand, but here in John’s Gospel, this story is a precursor to the bread of life discourse. Personally, I like John’s version because not only does it have the bread of life discourse but of the fact of where the bread came from. We hear from the apostle Andrew that the loaves and fishes came from a young boy. We know he was a poor young boy because he barley loaves, but still the boy came and offered what he had to Jesus. Even though it wasn’t nearly enough to feed everyone there, the boy still came and gave what he had. I can only imagine Jesus smiling as a young boy came forward surrounded by these 12 big sailor guys and offering what was probably his lunch up to Jesus.
In light of this young man’s offering, this story has another meaning along with the Eucharistic symbolism that we so plainly see. In this story we see the effect Jesus has and the good that He can do with our own sacrifices. The boy probably knew he wasn’t going to fix the problem of all the hungry people on his own, but you add Jesus to the equation, and you can throw number out the window.
This story still carries weight to us today, as we face challenges where we can’t do it ourselves. Maybe we think we can’t make a difference. Or maybe we think that the problem is beyond our ability to do anything about it. This story tells us something different. It tells us that all we have to do is go to Jesus and just give what we have, even if it isn’t much.