Sunday readings reflection: Trust, rest, be fed

Readings for July 25,  2021

2 Kings 4:42-44
Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18
Ephesians 4:1-6
John 6:1-15

St. John mentions in this week’s reading, almost as an aside, that it was nearing the feast of Passover. There seems some significance for mentioning this. And while it is likely that not everyone in the large crowd was Jewish, it is also likely that many, if not most, were, and would know the significance of Passover and be aware of the upcoming feast.

Passover, of course, is the festival of the liberation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. The Egyptians had been working the Israelites to death—literally. They cried out to God and He heard their pleas. Jesus, for his part, knows the people have come from far away and in great multitudes. He tells them to recline. While enslaved in Egypt, they could not recline. There was no rest. By insisting they recline on the expanse of grass, Jesus is emphasizing the freedom they have in God’s kingdom. Then, like His Father providing manna in the desert for the journey to the land in which they now live, Jesus feeds them. In the desert, after they had rested from the day’s journey, God made food fall from the heavens to be harvested each morning. On a deserted hillside, after the crowd reclined, Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes. 

In the trek through the desert, God knew He had to take care of the Israelites’ physical needs before they would become obedient to His commands. On the mountain, Jesus knew he had to provide for the crowd’s physical hunger to feed their souls. In both instances, with their bodily needs taken care of, they could focus on the freedom that God placed before them. It was a simple formula: trust God, rest, be fed. 

We are offered the same freedom today. And the same formula–trust, rest, be fed. Is the miracle less of a miracle in one person’s transformation from sin to freedom than it was to feed 5,000 on a hillside? In our journey, when we trust God’s plan, we can rest in Christ and be fed by his Body and Blood. Then we are truly free.

My Lord Jesus, you did as your Father instructed, giving Him glory in every miracle you performed. We are called to be like you, doing God’s will and giving Him glory. May we trust in Him, rest in you, and be fed to live in the fulfillment of the promise of your freedom. Amen

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