Thursday, 8 February 2024 Sue Knight

Thursday, 8 February 2024

St Mark 6: 30 – 44

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii  worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.


One of Jesus’ most recognized miracles is found in this passage, but it occurs only after he spends time healing the sick. After seeing the crowd, Jesus felt compassion for them.  We often emphasise the miracle itself but overlook the sympathy that literally moves Jesus. Jesus’ compassion compels him to act. And that’s how it should be with us. While we may feel sympathy for someone, how often does the emotion result in action? Jesus cures the sick people in the crowd because he cared for them.

Instead of commanding them to leave, he orders them to stay and sit down on the grass. He then gets to work doing what he has come to do—curing every disease and sickness among the people. The miracle demonstrates that Jesus attends to the physical needs of the people. He doesn’t focus solely on their spiritual health through his teaching. He’s also concerned that they are sick. He empathises with those who are hungry.

Are we as concerned about the physical health of God’s people as Jesus is or do we focus only on our spiritual health? Like the disciples, do we naively send people away when we think our resources are too limited to have an impact? There is still a need to feed the hungry in our world today with a vast number of people who do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. Many of our churches supply food and provide meals to those in need. These offerings can be the “little” resources (like that of the disciples) that when blessed and added with others can bring forth an increase.

In Holy Communion we offer with grateful thanks food (bread and wine) nurtured by human hands, to the God who is its source, and we discover the ‘more than enough-ness’ of God’s providential provision for us – God’s food and fellowship, shared abundantly, feeding our bodies and souls, taken into our bodies and becoming part of us, with human ego pushed right out of the way.


Dear God, we pray today for the hungry, all those for whom starvation is an ever-present reality, not knowing when their next meal will be. Stir the hearts of those who have much, to respond generously to those who have so little. We pray too for those who, though they are well-fed physically, are spiritually hungry. May they find the inner nourishment that only you can give. Amen

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