When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land…
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Mt 5:1-12)
This passage is the beginning of the famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’, which runs through chapters 5,6 and 7 of Matthew’s gospel. This is proclaimed by all as the wonderful teachings of Jesus. If only people followed these teaching then the world would be different. The world would be really heaven on earth.
These teachings are quite demanding. People of today’s world are considering success, wealth, long life, victory as yard sticks for a good life. But Jesus is proposing good news for the humble, the poor, the mourners, the peace makers, the persecuted etc.
These seem to be God’s good news. God is acting in and through Jesus. God wants to turn the world upside down. God is pouring on blessings on all those who turn to him and accept the new teachings that he is presenting through Jesus.
…As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of (about) fifty." They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets. (Lk 9:11-17)
Israelites know well the story of Manna in the desert. God provided the Israelites with food in the desert and this was constantly remembered. They prayed about it and they sang Psalms regarding this. Again they are in a deserted place and they are aware that Jesus is there among them, yet the disciples asked Jesus to disperse the crowd.
Jesus said to them “Give them some food yourselves”. Does Jesus ask them to play the role of God? And they could definitely not. Does Jesus want to show to them that God was among them as HE was in the desert with their forefathers? By providing food for them in the desert Jesus proved that God was among them and this God was in Jesus. A great lesson for the disciples.
Jesus not only provided them with food in the desert but he offered his body and blood as food for them. Today’s feast is a reminder of this. Only God provides food in the desert and thus providing food for them in the desert Jesus revealed that he is the son of God. Not only that but he also becomes food for them. He is the provider and the provided.