Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
— John 6 1-15
Today we are given an opportunity to read and to contemplate the multiplication of the loaves by Jesus. The commentary regarding this passage indicates that this is the fourth miracle that Jesus performs and it is the only miracle recorded in all four of the gospels.
These same scholars discuss how this miracle is also a reminder of how Elisha too multiplied barley loaves, thus confirming that Jesus is the one who has been promised throughout salvation history. They remind us that the barley loaves are the bread of the poor, pointing not only to our poverty of spirit, but that Jesus is the answer to our hunger. Because the people are invited to sit on the grass the scholars say it points to spring and Passover when the chosen people are freed of oppression.
For me, the most striking aspect of this passage is that when Jesus is faced with scarcity he does not fear, but gives thanks to God for what he does have, and from this spirit of gratitude God’s abundance flows.
Heavenly Father, help me to truly be grateful for what I do have, because knowing it is from You, I can trust it will be more than enough. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.