Sunday, July 30, 2006

Today's Gospel reading, as you should know by now, was from John 6, about the multiplication of the loaves.

I've heard the notion that the real miracle was the sharing of food that people had already brought, but today was the first time I heard it suggested in the homily.

"We can take it to mean that God created the bread from nothing--after all, he turned the water to wine at the wedding in Cana," he started. Well, yes enough.

He did describe, though, the alleged act of sharing as a miracle of generosity, of God acting through us--instead of upon us--to do more good than we would have otherwise. He gave some other examples, which I don't feel like typing up right now, that made this particular idea more clear

His point's a good one, that we should become instruments of God's grace for one another, rather than simply sitting around and waiting for grace to happen. Without any grace, we can't do anything, but once we have some, we can do good, we can spread the grace around.

On the other hand, making people feel guilty so they share what they have is a little mundane. I have no objection to mundane miracles, but if almost everyone did plan ahead and brought enough food to fill twelve baskets after being shamed into sharing with the folks who didn't plan ahead, wouldn't the really remarkable thing be that so many people were hiding so much food (and hidden so well that none of the Apostles noticed, save for one boy's stash) that they'd have leftovers of that magnitude? Did the crowds really show up that day with lunches prepared but still hoping Jesus would be catering?

I know the Bible's pretty lean on incidental detail, but if we take the less dramatic and less direct interpretation, don't the crowds seem to be a little something other than lucid?


Anonymous said...

And, if it was just a big 'ol pot luck supper, why did the crowd want to carry Christ off and make him king? They were so hyped up He had to flee into the mountains to get away from them! Somebody must have brought one heck of a casserole.

Hey, I've thrown many a pot luck, and people seem to love them, but nobody's offered me a crown. For that matter, I'm lucky if I can get folks to help with the dishes.

Ed Pie said...

Indeed. If anyone at a potluck is going to be made king, it'll be the one who brought the best dish.

If you want to get offered a crown, make sure a lot of people see you scolding the folks who brought a lot of food for not sharing more with the ones who didn't bring anything.