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Yesterday I was at a Wedding in St Alphonsus’ parish, just beside the Barras in Glasgow.  It all went very well and I am sure the couple are wending their way now towards the airport and the honeymoon.  If you’ve ever been to St. Alphonsus or indeed the Barras, then you’ll know that it’s in the very centre of Glasgow and quite difficult to find a parking place.  Add into the equation yesterday that some football teams were kicking off their season at exactly the same time, then you’ll understand that the place was swarming with people – going shopping, going to the football and going to our Wedding.  Then this morning I switched on the TV to find two news report about large crowds: a crowd chasing Neymar all across Europe as he signed for Paris St. Germain for a record fee; and the crowds that were heading to Scotland for rock festivals and the start of the Edinburgh International Festivals.  I thought about all those large crowds and the mix of people that would be there: people who’d never been in such large crowds; people who were just curious and chasing a story; and people that were organising the events and totally focused on what was happening.

 

 

 

Those large crowds and the mix of people are reflected in today’s Gospel as Jesus performs a miracle and feed thousands of people: “five thousand men, to say nothing of women and children.”  Within that large crowd there would have been a similar mix of people: people who’d never been in such large crowds; people who were just curious and wanted to see what Jesus was like; and the disciples who were trying to organise the event and were focused on the miracle that was happening.  The crowd had all come to see and hear Jesus and it’s interesting for us to take out those elements of the story that tell us what Jesus was doing: after seeking some rest, he takes pity on the crowd; he heals the sick; he calms the fears of the disciples who wanted the crowd to be sent away “there is no need for them to go”; and then Jesus feeds the crowd and in abundance.  This is Jesus who is in control and wants to give a clear message: He is on earth to show that God is generous, that God wants everyone to make good use of all the world’s resources if only people had eyes to see.

 

 

 

Of course today’s Gospel comes from Matthew who came from a Jewish background and was always wanting to convince his audience that Jesus was the fulfilment of all Old Testament dreams.  And so today’s Gospel looks back to the 2nd Book of Kings where the Prophet Elisha orders his servant to feed a crowd of around 1,000 people with only 20 loaves.  Today’s miracle of Jesus feeding an even larger crowd would convince first century Palestine that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.  However Matthew – as well as looking back – is also inviting his audience to look forward: this miracle would have its fulfilment in the last Supper when Jesus would feed the disciples; but perhaps more importantly for Matthew this miracle would have its fulfilment when people would understand that Jesus came on earth to bring the Kingdom of Heaven into the daily lives of men and women down through the ages.  If women and men would only open their hearts and minds to Jesus and his words, then their thirst would be quenched by Jesus and their hunger would be nourished by Him.

 

 

 

YOU are part of that crowd today.  When you come to Church and when you open yourself in prayer to God, sometimes you are simply curious, sometimes totally focused.  To be honest the focus today is not on you nor on the disciples in the story.  The focus is on Jesus and what He can do for you, what God desires for you.  There is one clear message for you today in the miracle of Jesus feeding the large crowd: if you would only open your heart and mind to Jesus and his words, then your thirst would be quenched by Jesus and your hunger would be nourished by Him.

 

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