Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday after Trinity: The food of teaching

Opening Sentence
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43:3

Commemoration: Seattle
Almighty God, who in giving us dominion over things on earth have made us fellow workers in your creation: Grant us such wisdom and reverence toward you that, following the counsel and example of your servants Noah Seattle and Black Elk, we may so use the resources of nature that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 50

Lessons: Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:3, Galatians 3:1-14, Matthew 14:13-21

When the disciples advised that the crowds be sent away into the neighboring villages to buy food, he answered, "They do not need to go away." This signaled that these people whom he healed with the food of teaching, teaching that was not for sale, had no need to go back to Judea and buy food. He ordered the apostles to give them something to eat.

But was Jesus unaware there was nothing to give? Did he not know the disciples possessed a limited amount of food? He could read their minds, so he knew. We are invited to explain things by reasoning according to types. It was not yet granted to the apostles to make and administer heavenly bread for the food of eternal life. Yet their response reflected an ordered reasoning about types: they had only five loaves and two fish. This means that up to then they depended on five loaves--that is, the five books of the law. And two fish nourished them--that is, the preaching of the prophets and of John. For in the works of the law there was life just as there is life from bread, but the preaching of John and the prophets restored hope to human life by virtue of water. Therefore the apostles offered these things first, because that was the level of their understanding at the time. From these modest beginnings the preaching of the gospel had proceeded from them, from these same apostles, until it has grown into an immense power.

Hilary of Poitiers
On Matthew

I Am the Bread of Life