Gospel of Mark 6:34-44 Reflection:
We continue the countdown to the Baptism of the Lord with a gospel that again is meant to make us ask, ‘who is this Jesus?’ it is the story of the feeding of the five thousand and the story shows Jesus’ power over nature. The gospels are very careful to point out that Jesus has dominion over every part of nature, not just sickness.
The opening line of the gospel gives us the reason why Jesus works this miracle; Jesus saw the large crowd and they looked like sheep without a shepherd. In other words, they looked lost.
How often do we see groups of young people or groups of refugees standing in the desert with all their possessions in a car, and we feel that they look lost. Jesus had a similar feeling, only for him it would have been much more profound as he could have looked into the hearts of men.
But he didn’t immediately feed them. He began to teach. Jesus knew that what these people needed more than anything else was hope and understanding that they are loved by God. When a person is touched by God they receive a dignity into their lives and they also receive hope.
However, having given them this hope, Jesus then went about feeding them. Mark is very careful here to present the order in the proper way: teach and let them know God’s love and then look after their physical needs. If you feed and don’t let people know the love of God then you are only alleviating their pain for a while.
Jesus knew there are more needs in life than food: and he knew how to satisfy them!