When Jesus got the news [of John the Baptist's death], he slipped
away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully
-- someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people
from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was.
When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed
Toward evening the disciples approached him. "We're out
in the country and its getting late. Dismiss the people so they
can go to the villages and get some supper."
But Jesus said, "There is no need to dismiss them. You give
"All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,"
Jesus said, "Bring them here." Then he had the people
sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted
his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread
to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation.
They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers.
About five thousand were fed.
[The Message ]
Death by political intrigue is always enough to give one pause
- Jesus, no less than you or me. Early on he is brought to Egypt
in a similar moment. We are still facing these moments even if
they are more subtle (economic domination, slow rather than fast
death). What do you do when you hear about politics as usual
- block it out because you can't do anything about it? Retreat
to pray and plan? Write your leaders or demonstrate?
While getting his mind around John's death, evaluating the new
state of affairs, and following the spiritual disciplines he
had found helpful, Jesus finds the world of need continuing to
press upon him. He could have see his retreat as more important
and left for yet another place. He could have led the needy in
evaluating the causes of their plight and organizing to not take
it any more. He could have said, "I quit." Yet we hear
that pity/mercy rose to the the operating procedure for the moment.
What needs to be in place within us to allow pity/mercy to become
our operating procedure?
Interesting how Jesus did not have pity/mercy on his disciples.
For them it was Jesus' teaching/demonstration. "I'm glad,"
said Jesus, "to hear you have picked up on the need of the
people and had pity/mercy enough to give them time to go off
and care for themselves (even if they don't have the resources
to do that, you will offer them the time). Would it not be a
deepening of your pity/mercy to not only provide time but also
resources for the time? Why don't you feed them? Wouldn't that
"save" time? Oh, right, you think you have so little
yourself. Well, let's see what can be done with a little."
Pray, "Bountiful GOD, I have so little, the needs are so
great. I'll do what I can with what I've got and you do what
you can with what you've got. Together, this has brought enough
and more. Blessings upon all as we work together."
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