|Reading: Matthew 14:13-20|
The Feeding of the Five Thousand establishes two divergent solutions to the hunger situation the people faced - then and now.
The solution from the disciples is: `Send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.` (14:15). This is the predominant attitude to the millions today displaced by global warming, globalisation and inequality.
The alternative solution from Jesus seems quite impossible: `They need not go away; you give them something to eat.` (14:16), to which the disciples respond, `We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish` (14:17) but Jesus says, `Bring them here to me.` (14:18).
Jesus has established the difference between his approach and that of his disciples. Jesus then ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. (14:19). `Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.` (14:20).
The disciples were forced to accept and participate in Jesus`s solution (give them food) and not in their own solution (send them away).
Jesus does not bring down manna from heaven or turn stones into food. He takes what is already there, the five loaves and two fishes, and, when it is passed through Jesus`s hands, there is more than enough, much more than enough, for everyone present.
The point of this story is not multiplication, but distribution. Our wealth and resources of scientific knowledge are already here. It is enough for all when it is managed according to the Divine principle of Distributive Justice or a `Fair Go`.
The disciples are the already present Kingdom of God community in microcosm. As the leaders of that community they do not see it as their responsibility but are forced to accept it by Jesus. Behind this story is an entire theology of creation in which God owns the world, demands that all get a fair share of its goods, and appoints humans, that is us, you and me as stewards to establish God`s justice on earth.