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February 16, 2019 Featured

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book PNG2112Gospel: Mark 8:1-10
Jesus was in the midst of another large crowd, that ob­viously had nothing to eat. So he called his disciples and said to them, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with me for three days and now have nothing to eat. If I send them to their homes hungry, they will faint on the way; some of them have come a long way.” His disciples replied, “Where, in a deserted place like this, could we get enough bread to feed these people?”

He asked them, “How many loaves have you?” And they answered, “Seven.” Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, he broke them, and handed them to his disciples to distribute. And they distributed them among the people. They also had some small fish. So Jesus said a blessing, and asked that these be shared as well.The people ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand in number. Jesus sent them away, and immediately got into the boat with his disciples, and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

“How many loaves have you?"

In the memory of the disciples there were many things that “hap­pened.” “Remember the amazing time when he fed a crowd with seven loaves of bread?” But there must have  come a time when they realized that these were also signs that fit to­gether in a deep pattern that couldn’t be discerned in the mo­ment. Surely something more was happening that day than just a miraculous meal. In time the disciples would struggle to put these memories together. They remembered his prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” They remembered his mys­terious blessing of the Passover bread at his Last Supper. All these memories must have come toge­ther with the recollection of an im­promptu banquet when “the peo­ple ate and were satisfied.” Jesus didn’t just offer bread; he offered life, sustenance, blessing—an an­swer to people’s deepest hunger. They could not of course envi­sion how this meal would be seen­ acted one day in huge outdoor Masses: the long lines at various stations, the faithful proceeding patiently to receive the Bread of Life. But it is also reenacted in the most ordinary liturgy, whenever two or three are gathered toge­ther in his name. We remember. And we are satisfied.

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