Body and Blood of the Christ (Ages 6-9): Kingdom Math
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Body and the Blood of Christ. On this Sunday, we might expect to hear about the Last Supper again, but we do not. Instead, we hear a familiar miracle.
Crowds of people have gathered to listen to Jesus.
Jesus spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.
Jesus often speaks about the Kingdom of God. He wants people to understand about it. Jesus also heals people. Does healing help them understand the Kingdom of God?
The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.”
All day Jesus has spent with the crowd of people. He has spoken to them. He has healed them. He has given them all of himself. All that he has, he has given to them.
It is not enough, though. The twelve—the apostles—realize that the people need to get food and they need to get rest. There are no shops or hotels nearby. Everyone is hungry and tired.
The apostles want Jesus to end this. They want him to stop thinking about the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God can wait. The people need to get food and find some place to rest.
But Jesus says,
“You give them something to eat.”
This is not what the apostles had in mind. They try to make Jesus understand the math. They say,
“We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men.
Five loaves, two fish. Even the apostles who are not good at math know that this is not enough food to feed five thousand people.
But Jesus says,
“Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.”
Maybe Jesus is really bad at math.
And taking the five loaves and the two fish, Jesus looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
Jesus gives everything he has to the people and all of them eat. All of them are filled. There is even some left over.
This is a different kind of math. This is abundance.
Where has Jesus learned this math? We remember,
Jesus looked up to heaven
Oh-ho. This is the math of the Kingdom of God.
What does this math teach the apostles about the Kingdom of God?
They learn that in Jesus' hands, not enough becomes an abundance.
They learn that Jesus gives all that he has so that all will be filled.
This is what the Kingdom of God is all about.
People who are hungry find rest.
They learn this now, so that later, at the Last Supper, when Jesus says,
“This is my body, which is given for you” (Luke 22:19)
“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20)
they know that he gives all that he is—his whole life—in the bread and in the wine.
They learn this now, so that later, after the cross when Jesus gives all that he has—his whole life—they know that not enough becomes an abundance of Life.
Jesus gives all that he has so that all will be filled.
We stretch out our hands and receive the Kingdom of God.
We who are hungry find rest.