What If He Asked YOU ?

Not quite completely over my computer repair ordeal — but I’m “recovering.”

And just in time for the FOURTH Sunday in Lent —  and a thought about poor Philip – one of Jesus’ close friends who managed to both ask a “bad”  question and give a “bad”  answer.

(Ever give an answer that you wish you could retract as soon as you realize how inadequate it was?)

Today we read about his “bad”  answer:

FEEDING the 5

The question Jesus was asking of Philip is:   “There are thousands of hungry people out there.  How can we feed them?”

Philip,  ever practical, ever concrete, replied:  “Feed them?!   200 days worth of wages would provide only a little bite for each person!”

(And who carries around that much money?)

St. John,  the narrator of this event, tells us that Jesus asked Philip that question just to test him, to get him to reveal how he was thinking —  to stretch his mind a bit, as well as ours.

Well, they had to get food from somewhere;  the people were about to faint from hunger – and there was an important object lesson coming.   They had an offer!

SAMSUNG

The “offer”  was:   “Here is a little boy with five loaves and two fish but we know that’s  not enough.”

(What we can give to God is pitifully small;   it is His divine condescension to add His supernatural power to make our efforts “good enough.”     And that just happens to be my lunch after church today:  fish and bread.) 

We know what Jesus did next in this story.   He took the small amount of food, raised it up to heaven, and blessed it.    I don’t understand everything about what a “blessing” like this means,  but we know that the blessed food which Jesus intended to use proved to be adequate and more than adequate for feeding the 5,000 or so people on that hillside.

philip

It’s not recorded what  Philip had to say about this,  but the event is a goldmine for lessons that Jesus,  Our Lord,  would want us to know.   Among them:

1 . . . Jesus knows and cares about each hungry individual person.   (True?    Do you know that to be true for you?)

2 . . . The people had been “following” Him.    What did they mean by following Him?  What did they want?   What did they expect?  What were they really hungry for?   In this life, when we “follow”  Jesus,  we are following,  but having not yet arrived.    Close,  closer, closest of all . . .   but a loving union —  that desire will be fulfilled completely only after we die — if indeed that is what we want.

3 . . . There is the crowd.  It takes all kinds to make a crowd, even a crowd of followers.  Some follow more or less intently;  more or less quickly;  more or less from out of their own desire.  Some just “follow the crowd.”      With less quickness,  less attention,  less  intensity,  less focus, less effort —  less anything,  you lose ground and the distance between you and your Creator increases — and then you are walking on dangerous ground.

. . . . Then let me skip all the other more minor lessons –  what Jesus had in mind is that He will be food  indeed,  bread indeed,  Manna,  for countless thousands and millions:

He gives His Body the night before His crucifixion, which means  (evening and next daytime are a day,  so this was part of giving His life for us :

this is jesis giving first

And it continues down through the centuries,  feeding millions,  unchanged in understanding . . .

(Today,  March 6, 2016) –

this is at the mass

Even a child can understand:

this is a child

So, remember Philip’s answer?

Jesus wanted to teach what God taught people under the Old Covenant:  “Man does not live by bread alone.”

This crowd,  this humanity amassed before Jesus,  was not hungry merely for bread.      They are hungry for communion and union with their Creator,  the Son of God,  the Word,  the Messiah.

Nothing complicated.  “A little child shall lead them.”

The simple, needy child in all of us,  can know more than what Philip seemed to know.

 

So,   what if Jesus had asked YOU how we were going to feed all those people?   We know now why Philip’s  answer was “bad”  or at least it showed a lower level of understanding;   and so did his “bad”  question:

“Lord,  show us the Father.”

The answer:    “Oh, my goodness, Philip.  Have you been with Me so long and yet you do not know that he who has seen Me has seen the Father?!”

Heaven comes down to Earth;  God comes down to His own people — and does not leave them,  not ever.   He leaves 12 baskets of more food;   12 apostles to found the Church that will be His living Body;

this is jesus giving

and He leaves  the Church to continue to distribute our Food.

 

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