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.
Within the space of three chapters, Mark presents two
instances of miraculous feeding, Mk 6:35-44 being the first one.
The first feeding happened at a place between Tiberias and
Capernaum, and the crowd was mostly Jewish. There, Jesus was
consumed by preaching, and the disciples alert him to the
physical needs of the people. In the second, the setting is near
Decapolis (cf. 7:31), the eastern part, the “other side” populated
mostly by pagans. Here it is Jesus who becomes concerned about
people going hungry and alerts the disciples who don’t seem
very interested and bring up excuses. When it comes to being
Church, if we limit ourselves to ministering to our own, Jesus
keeps shaking us awake to the everyday needs of those on the
other side as well—for everyone matters, along with every need
of theirs, both spiritual and physical, in his conception of
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