Daily Devotional for January 31
January 31 Mark 8:1-10
In the first of Mark's two Gospel accounts of Jesus' feeding
the crowds (Mark 6:30-48), it is the disciples who first come
to Jesus. They take the initiative. They are the ones who first
show concern for the hungry followers, although it never
occurs to them that they themselves can do something to
resolve the situation.
In this second account, Jesus takes the initiative to summon
his disciples and express his deep concern. He gives some
thought to sending the crowds home, the practical solution,
but he knows that some of them might not make it. Yet the
disciples see no other alternative.
The story has been understood in the Christian tradition as
a symbolic anticipation of the Last Supper. Jesus takes bread,
blesses it, breaks it, and distributes it to the people. The
description is very similar to the account of the Last Supper.
These same actions continue today in those communities
which still celebrate the memorial meal.
These actions also encompass the daily life of the Christian.
Each day brings us knowledge or personal experience of
hunger, either in ourselves or in others. The hunger can be
for food to stay alive, but more often it is a hunger for
community, meaning, affirmation, forgiveness, and healing.
Each day also brings us the bread of time, of people, and of
our own individual gifts. As disciples of the Lord we need each
day to pray in thanksgiving over these gifts, break them open,
and distribute them to others. Every time we commune with
others, we are in a position to nourish and feed them as Jesus
did, rather than being paralyzed by our inadequacies and
limited resources as were the disciples. Then our hearts, too,
will be moved, and we will be able to work real miracles.
From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle
Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.