One Loaf Among Friends

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

It is often said that history is written by the winners. In other words, those who write about events in the past usually do so in a way that makes themselves look good. The readers must beware lest they fall into the trap of believing that the victor is perfect and the loser is without any redeeming qualities.

The Gospel writers could have presented such a picture of themselves. However, today's Gospel passage shows us that the evangelists were critical of themselves and the disciples of Jesus as well as of the Pharisees, scribes and religious authorities of Judaism. These rather uncomplimentary pictures of the apostles at their most obtuse help us to understand our own weaknesses and lack of understanding. After all, it they didn't get the message right away, we can hardly blame ourselves for our lack of understanding. At the same time, we are able to grow in our trust of the sacred writers who were not ashamed to own up to their own incomprehension.

Like us, the apostles were certainly concerned about the mundane things such as where their next meal was coming from. Like the apostles we fail to understand that in God there is enough for everyone. However, if we accept this as true, we must also come to realize that when one person has more than they need, many people have less than they need. The twelve and seven baskets of fragments which Jesus references in this passage speak to the abundance to be found in God. The twelve baskets, one for each tribe of Israel, and seven baskets, enough for the rest of the world, fail to impress the apostles who are still worried about the one loaf that they have among them.

What is enough? We are drawing near to the Season of Lent once again. Do we have too much? Can we do without? A week from now, as we celebrate Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), will we be ready to rely upon God's abundant gifts?

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