Collecting and Sharing
November 28, 2021
It is fitting that we conclude our exploration of the Sea of Galilee here at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish and set our sights upon Jerusalem. In this peaceful church sitting by the Sea of Galilee, a crowd followed upon Jesus, drawn to his word, miracles, and his teachings. No one has ever witnessed anything like this before. From a mere five loafs of barley and two fish, an entire multitude is fed. Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and shares the bread. The event directs our eyes to something greater—our sights set towards Jerusalem. The account of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, found in all the Gospels, echoes the Last Supper, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Jesus will sit with his disciples in the upper room to share the Passover. Here Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and shares that bread that is his body. Only through his death and resurrection do the actions, miracles, teachings experienced here in Galilee and Jerusalem reveal the true weight of the mystery. The Living Son of God has indeed walked among us, shared his life with us, and gave of himself to conquer death and bring us the promise of eternal life.
St. John Chrysostom remarks that only the disciples in the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish picked up the remnants of food. There was so much food left over that it filled twelve wicker baskets. As disciples of Christ, we nourish ourselves by staying close to Christ and walking in his footsteps. He feeds us with the Sacraments and his Word. We have taken in the various sites, walked where Jesus and his disciples placed their feet. There is so much to take in, but it can’t be taken in all at once. Like the disciples, we collect what we can to share and teach others the experiences we receive here in the Holy Land. As his disciples, Jesus calls each of us to collect and share the grace of Christ we experience daily with others. The message of the Multiplication of Loaves goes beyond nourishment. First, it directs us toward the love that Christ shares with us through his death and resurrection. Secondly, it is a challenge to share the graces we receive. What we have gathered in our experiences, as disciples walking in the footsteps of Christ, consistently exposed to the graces poured out to us by Christ, we can put in our wicker basket to share with others.
Deacon Jesse Hiett
Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri