• thebetterpart

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): The Same Actions

(Adults, begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child, unless the child is a very fluent reader.)


Matthew 14.13-21


For four weeks now we have been thinking about parables. Parables cause us to do a lot of work! We have to think about what Jesus means. In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus does not tell us a parable. He is finished talking. Now he acts. And still we have to think about what this all means.


At the beginning of the Gospel, Jesus learns that his cousin, John the Baptist, has been killed. He wants some time alone, so he rows away in a boat by himself. But someone is always watching Jesus. The people in the town see him go and figure out where he is headed. It is a very quiet place, a distance from where they live, but they can get there over land. Women and men and children drop whatever they are doing, leave their ordinary lives behind for awhile, and make their way together to the quiet place.


The crowd arrives at the quiet spot before Jesus. Rowing takes a lot of energy and Jesus is not in a hurry. When Jesus finally there,

he saw a great crowd

We know that when someone wants time alone, they are not very happy if we interrupt them. They are disappointed, and sometimes they can get upset or angry. But Jesus, who needed time alone,

had compassion for them and cured their sick.

He knows they want to be with him, and he knows their need. He gives all of his time to them.


The disciples arrive in the evening and are dismayed by the crowd. Jesus was supposed to be having time alone. They say to Jesus,

“This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”

All these people have come a long distance to see Jesus, but they are going to need to eat. Jesus needs to tell the people to go so that they have time to get food before it gets dark.


But Jesus has already given them all his time. They have all the time they need. He says,

“They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

This is not a problem that the disciples want to have to solve. This is not their problem.

They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.”

This was supposed to be the disciples' dinner. The twelve of them and Jesus were going to share this meal.

But Jesus says,

“Bring them here to me.”
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

The disciples' meal becomes everyone's meal. Everyone eats the delicious warm bread baked just that day. Everyone is strengthened by the salty fish flaking in their mouths. They laugh as they spit out the bones. They are full!


People call this "The Feeding of the Five Thousand," but did you hear? That's only counting the men. There are women here, and children, too. Who knows how many people are fed, when Jesus gives all of his time to them?

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Everyone gets enough to eat and still there is food left over. Enough and more than enough--that's what we call abundance. Where did this abundance come from? The people get the food from the disciples. The disciples brought the food, but they give it first to Jesus. So is the abundance from Jesus? What do you think?


Let's look closely at what Jesus does.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples

Through Jesus, God gives abundance to the people.


What else can we notice about what Jesus does?

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples...

Taking, blessed, broke, gave.

Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives...

Does that sound sort of familiar? It reminds us of the Last Supper, doesn't it?

Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples... (Matthew 26:26)

Took, blessing, broke, gave.

Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives...

The same actions. What can this mean? (See? Jesus' actions cause us to wonder just like the parables do!)

The feeding of the great crowd reminds us of the Last Supper. One situation points to the other. How is the Last Supper like the feeding of the great crowd?


With the crowd, Jesus gives all of his time to the people. He feeds them with God's abundance.


At the Last Supper, Jesus takes the bread and says,

“Take, eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)

He feeds them with his body, his body that has grown for so many years, his body that will die on the cross, his body that will rise to new life, never to die again. All of the time that has been, all of the time that will be. All of his time is in that bread. All of God's abundant life is in that bread. He gives it all to them.


Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives...


We hear those words from the Last Supper when we gather at Mass, too, don't we? The same actions. What can this mean?

Get reflections delivered to your inbox! Join my mailing list

© 2019 by The Better Part. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter
  • Instagram