Today’s Gospel is St. John’s account of the feeding of the multitude, a familiar story to all Christians. In The Orthodox Heretic, Peter Rollins offers a parable that puts a twist on the familiar story. He calls is a “first-world translation.” Here it is:
Jesus withdrew privately by boat to a solitary place, but the crowds continued to follow him. Evening was now approaching and the people, many of whom had traveled a great distance, were growing hungry.
Seeing this, Jesus sent his disciples out to gather food, but all they could find were five loaves of bread and two fishes. Then Jesus asked that they go out again and gather up the provisions that the crowds had brought to sustain them in their travels. Once this was accomplished, a vast mountain of fish and bread stood before Jesus. Upon seeing this he directed the people to sit down on the grass.
Standing before the food and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks to God and broke the bread. Then he passed the food among his twelve disciples. Jesus and his friends ate like kings in full view of the starving people. But what was truly amazing, what was miraculous abou this meal, was that when they had finished the massive banquet, there were not even enough crumbs left to fill a starving person’s hand.
Pretty shocking story! How could someone write something like that about Jesus?
Rollins reminds us in his commentary that we are the presence of Christ in the world today – the way people learn about Christ is through those who claim to live out the way of Christ. If that is the case, Rollins asks us to “ask ourselves whether the above tale reflects how Christ is presented to he world today, at least in the minds of those who witness the lifestyles of Christians in the West.”
Something to think about.