I am the Bread of Life
“When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal’
Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’
Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.‘ So they said, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’~ ‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered: ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’” John 6: 24-35
Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.
Why do you seek Jesus? What does he offer you? What do you expect from him? Jesus understands that the people seek him out because they have been fed and witnessed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Now that they are fed, he seeks to draw them closer to himself, to reveal to them who he is. He seeks their faith. Discipleship grows from faith and inspires faith in others; it seeks to do the Lord’s will and not one’s own.
“The crowds were seeking Jesus out so that they could have the next piece of bread and not because they wanted to commit their lives to him. The same thing can happen to us when we come to church because we want to feel better about the way we are rather than to become the persons God wants us to be. The food that Jesus gives in the Eucharist and in our relationship with him is meant to transform us and motivate us to move forward in our discipleship until we reach the promised land of heaven.” Daniel H. Mueggenborg
The Feeding of the Multitude
“Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee or of Tiberias and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover. Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.‘ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.” John 6: 1-5
Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples
For the next six weeks, we will read from the Gospel of John chapter 6. It begins with the feeding of the multitude. All four Gospels record this event. St. John goes deeper into a reflection of what this event meant and continues to mean for us.
Jesus sitting down is taking the position of a teacher in ancient time. He wishes to instruct his disciples about what it means to be a follower of him. Discipleship is not about being spectators but about committed people who seek to understand Jesus’s message and life.
The crowds seek out Jesus because of what they have seen and heard he can do. In feeding them, he continues to show his compassion and love but also gives them the gift of himself. He continues to give the gift of himself to us in the Eucharist. He draws them and us into a deeper reflection and understanding on who he is and what it means to follow him.
The Disciples Return
“The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.” Mark 6:30-34
You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while
Being a Disciple is not all about action; it is also about reflection, contemplation and spiritual conversation. Jesus sees how the disciples have been working, how they responded to his command of going out to towns and villages in his name. He now leads them into a time of reflection and contemplate on what they have done and what they have been involved in. Though the time he had planned with them is thwarted because of the crowd who went before him, he teaches the Disciples as he teaches the crowd about what it is to be a Disciple. Jesus in caring for the crowd is teaching by his action. He is the Good Shepherd, the true leader.
All of us can be quick to act or react to something without a period of reflection. We can be quick to criticize and thwart new ideas simply because we have not had time to reflect on them or indeed do not wish to. All too often, we hear in media circles, comments and opinions quickly given without reflection. So too in our faith life, we can be quick to react and slow to reflect on what is said, what is going on, what is the message.
In the process of Synodality that Pope Francis has set before the Church at this time, we are invited to spiritual reflection on the Church today in our own parish, family, Diocese and Nation.
Jesus changed his plan in the Gospel of having an intimate time with the Disciples to caring for the crowd who went before him. He saw the greater need of the time and acted in love. May each person see what God is asking of them and doing in their lives, today.
Jesus sends out the Disciples
“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.‘ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them”. Mark 6:7-13
Do not take a spare tunic.
Who am I? In life we can have various roles, sibling, parent, volunteer, worker and carer, jobs too can define a person. There can be multiple aspects to our identity such as nationality or race. The Twelve come from various backgrounds and have various aspects to who they are. Jesus in sending them out with one tunic is setting before them that their primary role is discipleship. They are to bring one message, the message of Jesus to others. The primary identity is ‘disciple’.
Clothes can be symbols of identity, of status and race. They can be a statement of who I am. Jesus in sending out the disciples is sending them out as his disciples; the clothing they wear is not to get in the way of his mission, they are not to present two aspects of their life but one.
Baptised people are clothed in the Garment of Christ. A white garment (tunic) is placed over a person immediately after Baptism to signify that they are clothed in Christ. The primary identity from that moment is ‘Christian’. First and foremost I am a Christian.
In all aspects of life the Baptised are to show Christ to others. The primary role of Christians is discipleship.
Do I first and foremost reflect Jesus in my life, work, family, career, political and cultural life?
What other identity in my life competes for the priority of ‘Who I am?’
Who do you say I am?
This question Jesus directed to Peter and the Apostles on one occasion is a question that Jesus by his very presence asks of his family and neighbours of his hometown. While he is recognised as a carpenter, son an a brother, he is not recognised as the Messiah. Their were blind to who he was and is. Their own perception of him prevented them from ‘seeing’, and thus no miracles were seen there. His family were no exception to the question just because they were related to him. This question ‘Who do you say I am?’ is a question that calls for an answer from each person who wishes to follow Jesus. Discipleship is to follow Jesus because one is convinced he is the Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God. To become a Disciple is to leave behind old way and seek to walk with Jesus on his way in accordance with his teaching.
Lord Jesus, you are the Son of God. Give me courage to follow you and to live by your teaching. Amen
Celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Reception of Holy Communion for the first time
Bishop Crean has informed all parishes in the Diocese of Cloyne that the celebrations of Baptism, Reception of Holy Communion for the first time and Confirmation cannot be celebrated at this time due to advice from the Government in relation to the spread of the Delta variant of Covid -19. We appreciate that this is disappointing news, unfortunately no new dates can be given until after the 19th of July, depending on the Governments advice
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So Jesus went with him; and a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha kum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Word from Pope Benedict XVI 2009
“where the Spirit of God enters, he chases out fear; he makes us know and feel that we are in the hands of an Omnipotence of love: whatever happens, his infinite love will not abandon us.”
Icon of Jesus Calming the Storm
With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’.’ Mark 4: 35-41
Prayer of Faith
O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I believe in you, I hope in you and I love you. I thank you Most Holy Trinity, for the gift of faith, which I have received from you though the Church in the Sacrament of Baptism.
I stand before you O God, in the long line of men and women who have ‘professed, prayed, lived and celebrated’ this faith handed on from the Apostles and Our Lady. Enkindle fire in my heart, that I may be ever more a credible witness to your redeeming love. May my thoughts, words and actions reflect the beauty of faith.
I pray that, in imitation of Mary, model of believers, I share this life of faith with others. This I ask in the name of Jesus who has sown the faith in our hearts through his word, as he lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever
Pope Francis 13th June 2021
Today Jesus compares the Kingdom of God, that is, his presence that dwells in the heart of things and of the world, to the mustard seed, that is, to the smallest seed there is: it is really tiny. Yet, cast upon the ground, it grows until becoming the tallest tree (cf. Mk 4:31-32). This is what God does. At times, the din of the world, along with the many activities that fill our days, prevent us from stopping and seeing how the Lord is conducting history. Yet – the Gospel assures us – God is at work, like a good little seed that silently and slowly germinates. And, little by little, it becomes a lush tree, which gives life and rest to everyone. The seed of our good works too can seem like a small thing, yet all that is good pertains to God, and thus it humbly, slowly bears fruit. Good, let us remember, always grows in a humble way, in a hidden, often invisible way.
Dear brothers and sisters, with this parable Jesus wants to instill us with confidence. In so many of life’s situations, indeed, it may happen that we get discouraged, because we see the weakness of good as compared to the apparent power of evil. And we may allow ourselves to be paralyzed by doubt when we find we are working hard but the results are not achieved, and things seem never to change. The Gospel asks us to take a fresh look at ourselves and at reality; it asks us to have bigger eyes, that are able to see further, especially beyond appearances, in order to discover the presence of God who as humble love is always at work in the soil of our life and that of history. This is our confidence, this is what gives us the strength to go forward every day, patiently, sowing the good that will bear fruit.
How important this attitude also is for coming out of the pandemic well! To cultivate the confidence of being in God’s hands and at the same time for all of us to commit ourselves to rebuilding and starting up again, with patience and perseverance.
In the Church too, weeds of doubt can take root, especially when we witness the crisis of faith and the failure of different projects and initiatives. But let us never forget that the results of sowing do not depend our abilities: they depend on the action of God. It is up to us to sow, and sow with love, with dedication and with patience. But the force of the seed is divine. Jesus explains it in today’s other parable: the farmer sows the seed and then does not realize how it bears fruit, because it is the seed itself that grows spontaneously, day and night, when he least expects it (cf. vv. 26-29). With God in the most infertile soil there is always the hope of new sprouts.