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Week after Epiphany

1 Jn. 4:7-10 & Mk. 8:34-44

No miracle seems to have made more of an impression on Jesus’ disciples than when he multiplied loaves and fishes and fed a multitude, for this is the only miracle that is related in all the four Gospels.

When the disciples saw how late it was, and how tired and hungry the crowd were, they said, “Send them away … to buy themselves something to eat.” They knew they did not have the resources to feed all these people, and while it was still daylight they should be given the chance to go to the neighbouring farms to buy food. They were so attached to Jesus that they would not leave until He dismissed them.

Jesus already knew what He was going to do. The crowd had listened attentively to His teaching, and now He wanted to feed them Himself, but first He wanted to test His apostles by telling them to feed the people. They must have looked at each other as if to say, “Are we hearing things!” When Jesus enquired how much bread they had, what were they really thinking? Did they follow His instructions out of obedience, or did they have confidence that He would be able to perform some kind of miracle? Perhaps they were already coming to expect the unexpected where the Lord was concerned.

Jesus performed this miracle because He loved the people and wanted to provide for them. This is the point St. John made in the first reading when he says, “God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world His only Son.” Before Jesus was to feed the five thousand He had a lesson He wanted to teach His disciples. They could do nothing by themselves, but with Him they could achieve the impossible. Nevertheless, He was not going to do everything for them; He needed them to co-operate with Him by making the most of their resources and bringing to Him what little they had.

What about us? What is Jesus telling us? He is saying, “I understand that you have your problems and often can’t find solutions to them, but remember I can do the impossible. Do the little you can and then bring your problems to Me - and leave the solutions in My hands.” This story tells us that a little in the hands of Jesus can become much. We may consider we have little talent and ability, but if we give it to Jesus He can work wonders with it. What confidence that gives us in Him!

Jesus, in times of worry or trouble, we can always turn to You in confidence knowing You are always there for us, and you can do the impossible. Little in our hands is much in Yours.

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