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Plenty here for everyone

by davesandel on August 1st, 2022

Monday, August 1, 2022

Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Plenty here for everyone

(click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

On the road again.

I left this morning at 8 am. I’m driving 780 miles to Tyler, Texas. Tomorrow morning I hope to have breakfast with my friend Casey at Mama’s Restaurant on 5th Street. Five loaves and two fish. Five loaves and two fish.

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.

Some of the Jesus stories bear repeating over and over, including this one. Thousands will eat instead of one, and everyone is happy. Jesus just heard the hard news about his cousin and friend John the Baptist. John anointed Jesus in the Jordan at his baptism. John insisted that Jesus pick up his mantle and become the Messiah John knew him to be. John’s death broke Jesus’ heart.

The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. And Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them.

And so he wanted to get away. But the crowds followed him, with their limps, deafness and blindness, and illness of all kinds, led by their friends. John had just been killed in the prime of life, and Jesus could do nothing. Now at least he could bring healing to these people in pain, and provide food for them when they had nothing for themselves to eat.

Five loaves and two fishes.

Jesus took them and looked up to heaven. He said the blessing and broke the loaves. The disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied.

Jesus sat on the grass and watched. He didn’t eat that night, only watched. He thought of John, and prayed for him. He waited for the disciples to bring back the leftovers. He listened to the laughter, the singing, as the evening sun began to set.

The disciples picked up the fragments left over – twelve wicker baskets full.

Jesus thought of Jeremiah’s words in the temple, and of the prophets’ challenge: Hananiah’s prediction of peace and Jeremiah’s skepticism.

The prophet who prophecies peace is recognized as truly sent by the Lord only when his prophetic prediction is fulfilled.

And there was no peace. God replaced a wooden yoke with an iron one, and Hananiah died within a year, as Jeremiah said he would.

Jesus thought about these things, sitting on the mountain, watching the crowd disperse and the night fall. He had no place to lay his head. Sometimes, like Jacob, he was awake all night wrestling with the angel. Sometimes, like Jeremiah, he grew tired of his Father’s refusal to speak peace to these people.

Now John was dead, and Jesus’ heart was full of grief. He wondered what he would be doing next, now alone without his cousin to pave a path, and he knew that God would show him. Just as clearly as he did this night. After a few moments, he laid himself down to sleep.

And looking up to heaven, he said the blessing.

(Jeremiah 28, Psalm 119, Matthew 4, Matthew 14)

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