After hearing about his cousin John who had just been brutally murdered, Jesus wanted to get away. Mary and Elizabeth had gone through a lot together. During their time of pregnancies they lived very close to each other and as families do there must have been a deep connection. Jesus grew up like any other young boy, playing and involved in activities other children which would include his relatives.
We can imagine that this news brought sadness and a sense of loss. So he got in a boat and tried to slip away to an out of the way place by himself. Someone saw him and began to follow. The few became a crowd. Actually thousands began walking around the lake to catch up with him.
Despite his need to mourn he looked at these poor souls as sheep without a shepherd and was overcome with compassion and healed their sick. The people of course, kept coming.
It was getting on into the evening. Here they were out in the desert. There were no supermarkets near by not even a pit stop for travelers who for some reason would use this path as a short cut to somewhere else. Jesus was still busy touching, healing and doing the work he was called to do.
The disciples became a little concerned and eventually tried to get this session ended. They began to plead with him, can you please let these people go. We understand your love and compassion for these people but we are out here, it’s dark and cold and these people are hungry and there is no place for them to buy food, let them go to the village so they can eat.
Jesus does the most astonishing thing. He takes their idea and said to them, ‘there is no need to dismiss them, you feed them.’
You’ve got to be kidding Jesus. We haven’t counted them yet but they are up in the thousands and all we have are five loaves of bread and two fish.
Jesus said bring them here. He blesses the loaves and fish and hands it back to the disciples and the disciples start giving out.
A small idea of how to care for people gets bounced back with what seems impossible.
I can’t, don’t have time, resources, ability, energy…all I have is … You had the idea, people should be fed. It may cost us, we may have to give all we have. Jesus takes what we give, blesses it and hands it back to us and we give it to one person after another without really knowing what is happening.
You hold the hands of senior and sing softly in their ear , they squeeze your hand, a smile comes on their face as they join you in, ‘and exchange it some day for a crown.’ You see a distraught young wife waiting for her husband to have treatment, you ask for their names and promise to pray for them and hear the words thank you, you have made my day. You offer what you have, inadequate though it may seem.
What happens when we hang out with Jesus. We blunder with our ideas he takes our artistic gifts, our skill with words, an eye for figures, and offers them to the Father he blesses them gives them back to us to give to those who need them. There is even enough left over to keep on giving.