Christmas Weekday, Tuesday – 07th January 2020 — Gospel: Mark 6,34-44
Lord’s Supper Pre-announced
The feeding narrative echoes of the bread in the wilderness. The expression “lonely place” repeated three times (6,31.32.35) is characteristically Marcan. It refers to the desert or wilderness signifying separation and privacy, where a great crowd is gathered around God’s representative. The bread and fish here seem to echo the manna and quail in the wilderness. The vivid descriptions “by companies upon the green grass, … in groups, by hundreds and by fifties” could trace out the people’s eyewitness account, but it may also allude to the encampment of Israel in the wilderness. And these expressions also bring to focus the eschatological change of the wilderness into the land of fertility and rest (green pasture). Thus the feeding of the five thousand points back to Moses and the manna in the wilderness and it takes forward to the messianic feast at the end-time. However, for the present time, the words describing Jesus’ prayer and breaking of bread “ … he looked up …, and blessed, and broke … and gave” strongly echo the sacramental language that tie up the scene to the Lord’s Supper. Therefore the miracle of multiplication of loaves is only a pre-announcement of this greatest of all miracles.