Above: The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, by James Tissot
Christ, Our Passover
The Sunday Closest to July 27
Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
JULY 26, 2015
FIRST READING AND PSALM: OPTION #1
2 Samuel 11:1-17 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):
(In Chapters 8-10, David fights wars and shows kindness to Jonathan’s son.)
In the spring of the year, the time when the kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking upon the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said,
Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
So David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself form her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; and she sent and told David,
I am with child.
So David sent word to Joab.
Send me Uriah the Hittite.
When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people fared, and how the war prospered. Then David said to Uriah,
Go down to your house, and wash your feet.
And Uriah went out of the king’s house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David,
Uriah did not go down to his house,
David said to Uriah,
Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?
Uriah said to David,
The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.
Then David said to Uriah,
Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.
So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day, and the next. And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but did not go down to his house.
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote,
Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.
And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. And men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was slain also.
Psalm 14 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):
1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
All are corrupt and commit abominable acts;
there is none who does any good.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon us al,
to see if there is any who is wise,
if there is one who seeks after God.
3 Every one has proved faithless;
all alike have turned bad;
there is none who does good; no, not one.
4 Have they no knowledge, all those evildoers
who eat up my people like bread
and do not call upon the LORD?
5 See how they tremble with fear,
because God is in the company of the righteous.
6 Their aim is to confound the plans of the afflicted,
but the LORD is their refuge.
7 Oh, that Israel’s deliverance would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restored the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad.
FIRST READING AND PSALM: OPTION #2
2 Kings 4:42-44 (New Revised Standard Version):
A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said,
Give it to the people and let them eat.
But his servant said,
How can I set this before a hundred people?
So he repeated,
Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the LORD, “They shall eat and have some left.”
He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.
Psalm 145:10-19 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):
10 All your works praise you, O LORD,
and all your faithful servants bless you.
11 They make known the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your power;
12 That the peoples may know of your power
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;
your dominion endures throughout all ages.
14 The LORD is faithful in all his words
and merciful in all his deeds.
15 The LORD upholds all those who fall;
he lifts up those who are bowed down.
16 The eyes of all wait upon you, O LORD,
and you give them their food in due season.
17 You open wide your hand
and satisfy the needs of every living creature.
18 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving in all his works.
19 The LORD is near to those who call upon him,
to all who call upon him faithfully.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (New Revised Standard Version):
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
John 6:1-21 (Anchor Bible):
Later on Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee [to the shore] of Tiberias, but a large crowd kept following him because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. So Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus looked up, he caught sight of a large crowd coming toward him; so he said to Philip,
Where shall we ever buy bread for these people to eat?
(Actually, of course, he was perfectly aware of what he was going to do, but he asked this to test Philip’s reaction.) He replied,
Not even with two hundred days’ wages could we buy enough loaves to give each of them a mouthful.
One of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, remarked to him.
There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and a couple of dried fish, but what good is that for so many?
Get the people to sit down.
Now the men numbered about five thousand, but there was plenty of grass there for them to find a seat. Jesus then took the loaves of bread, gave thanks, and passed them around to those sitting there; and he did the same with the dried fish–just as much as they wanted. When they had enough, he told his disciples,
Gather up the fragments that are left over so that nothing will perish.
And so they gathered twelve baskets full of fragments left over by those who had been fed with the five barley loaves.
Now when the people saw the sign[s] he had performed, they began to say,
This in undoubtedly the Prophet who is to come into the world.
With that Jesus realized that they would come and carry him off to make him king, so he fled back to the mountain alone.
As evening drew on, his [Jesus’] disciples came down to the sea. Having embarked, they were trying to cross the sea to Capernaum. By this time it was dark, and still Jesus had not joined them; moreover, with a strong wind blowing, the sea was becoming rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they sighted Jesus walking upon the sea, approaching the boat. They were frightened, but he told them,
It is I; do not be afraid.
So they wanted to take him into the boat, and suddenly the boat reached the shore toward which they had been going.
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Some Related Posts:
Proper 12, Year A:
Proper 12, Year B:
Break Thou the Bread of Life:
2 Samuel 11:
Matthew 14 (Parallel to John 6):
Mark 6 (Parallel to John 6):
Only one miracle story occurs on all four canonical Gospels. That is the feeding of the Five Thousand, with slight variations. Were there, for example, five thousand men (as Mark and Luke record the miracle), five thousand people (as John indicates), or five thousand men plus an uncounted number of women and children (as Matthew says)? All that is beside the point, for the accounts describe a staggering act of divine power and mercy.
Afterward, in John’s Gospel, the astonished crowd recognizes Jesus as a political messiah, so he and the Apostles leave the area. This (in the Johannine Gospel) sets the stage for Jesus walking on water, much to the astonishment of his Apostles. There is an accompanying storm for Jesus to calm in the Matthew and Mark accounts, but not here. Rather, the Johannine account emphasizes that Jesus is the incarnate I AM, not a political messiah.
Before I proceed further, I must acknowledge that I am drawing heavily from Father Raymond E. Brown’s Anchor Bible commentary on the Gospel of John. His depth of knowledge and extreme attention to details (He gets to John 6 on page 231 of Volume I.) are staggering. I can feast on this material for a long time to come.
Back to the Gospel of John….
There are obvious Eucharistic overtones in the Johannine account of the mass feeding. But how should we understand the walking on water? Brown, citing other sources, suggests a Passover image. Think about it: In both the Book of Exodus and in John 6 we find a water passage and the presence of unexpected food in close proximity to each other. And, in John, there is an explicit point of profound theology: JESUS IS THE PASSOVER LAMB. Thus we find Jesus dying on the cross as the sacrifice of animals occurs at the Temple. (In the Synoptic Gospels, however, Jesus is crucified on the next day.) The Last Supper, in the Synoptic Gospels, is a Passover meal. Yet, in the Johannine Gospel, JESUS IS THE PASSOVER MEAL. (See John 19:16b following.)
We encounter astounding theology in John 6. Who do we want Jesus to be, and why might we follow him? Do we week a national liberator or a Passover lamb? And what does our expectation indicate about us?
Published in a nearly identical form at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on September 25, 2011