I have read the gospel of the eighteenth Sunday rather than that of the Transfiguration because it seems to me to be so relevant to our situation today.
I think that we dodge the bullet when we say that the feeding of the five thousand is a prefiguration of the Eucharist where we are all fed spiritually with the Bread of Life.
To my mind Jesus sees the many people in front of him. He sees that they are physically hungry and thirsty. His disciples attitude mirrors my reaction and maybe yours; ‘Send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ It side steppes the questions as to whether food is available for buying and do they have the money to buy it.
Jesus simply tells them; ‘You give them something to eat.’
For me the message of today’s Gospel reading is that the example of Jesus and his disciples sharing the little they had with those nearest to them was the catalyst which prompted others to share what they had brought along with them with those who had forgotten to bring anything or had nothing to bring.
We are told, ‘They all ate and were satisfied.’
Surely our own experience is that when we get together and share there is not only enough to go around but some left over.
In the Gospel reading for the Feast of the Transfiguration a voice from the bright cloud (God the Father) tells us; ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’
The glaring need today; The obvious need which we are all dodging and sidestepping – what this generation will be condemned for by future generations – is our attitude towards and treatment of migrants and refugees be they political or economic. The shame of the years of slavery will be compared with what we are allowing to happen today.
Be totally sure that if Jesus of Nazareth were here today he would be found on the shore of the Mediterranean or Aegean sea rescuing migrants from the water or urging Governments to accept and care for refugees.
We are inclined to brand those brave and selfless enough to go to the help of refugees and migrants as partly responsible for encouraging the migrants. Even some of our political leaders suggest that they be left to drown to discourage others.
How unchristian can we be?
I console myself that I am doing my little bit while secretly aware that I could and should do much, much more.
We console ourselves as a Parish that we are doing our little bit while secretly aware that we could and should do much, much more.
I must listen to Jesus of Nazareth telling me, ‘You give them something to eat.’
And the voice of the Father telling me, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.’
Do I want to lie on my death bed bitterly regretting how little I did to help my brothers and sisters in dire need?