Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
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UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
If you’ve traveled through an airport in another country—where a different language is spoken—you know the importance of signs—graphics that tell where to change money, catch a taxi or train, and of course, find the restroom! These signs need to be clear lest there be misunderstanding. When we exchange more complex signs—such as in a relationship—we choose them even more carefully—for the risk of misunderstanding is even greater.
Beginning today, our Gospel readings for five weeks come from chapter six of John’s Gospel, where Jesus is portrayed as the “Bread of Life.” In today’s selection, Jesus feeds a crowd of hungry people with a few loaves of bread and some fish. The people are looking for a prophet—someone like Moses, who promised that a heroic figure like himself was to come in the future. Having witnessed the sign of the feeding of the crowd, some misunderstand and want to make Jesus king. He departs rather than be drawn into their misguided interpretation of his purpose.
Like other signs we use, those surrounding our celebration of Eucharist are open to misunderstanding—or at least we can take them for granted. Let’s let today’s Gospel lead us more deeply into these signs, to discover the person of Jesus Christ present as the Bread of Life—the very life of God.
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DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
According to the first reading (2 Kgs 4:42-44), who was able to feed over a hundred people with 20 barley loaves?
Were there any leftovers?
In the second reading (Eph 4:1-6), where was Paul when he wrote this letter of encouragement?
What did Paul want his readers to do?
There is a famous message here: There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc. What did Paul want the Ephesians to realize?
In the Gospel (Jn 6:1-15), it was near the feast of Passover when the large crowd came to Jesus. What did Jesus do?
Jesus tested Philip by asking him to buy food for the whole crowd. Did Philip pass the test?
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, tells Jesus that there is a boy there with five barley loaves and two fish. What did Jesus do?
How many people were there according to this text?
Bake some loaves of bread and share them with friends and neighbors.
I doubt you could reach the numbers in this week’s Gospel, but gather a group of friends or family for dinner or a grill out.