Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jul 26, 2012 | Comments (0)

Pentecost X John 6:24-35

"They had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks."

Giving Thanks for What?

The Rational understanding applies the principle to understand the story.

The Spiritual understanding looks to the story to illustrate the principle.

This parable demonstrates the principle of the difference between what you think rationally and how you think spiritually.

The rational commentaries generally miss the fact that the feeding of the 5,000 is the Passover feast. Besides pointing out the Passover was near, that was imminent Jesus gives thanks (Eucharist, from Greek εὐχαριστία (eucharistia), meaning thanksgiving).  When these scriptures were put together for the Sunday lessons they left out two verses that connect Pentecost 10 and Pentecost 9 together.

"The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized only one boat had been there, and Jesus had not entered it with his disciples. They had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberius landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks." These are the only two times the word "thanks" is mentioned in John's Gospel.

The disciples who followed Jesus to Capernaum missed the sign of the previous feeding. It is not all that bad, as most theologians who comment on the incident missed the sign as well. Spiritually, this was not primarily about the feeding of the 5,000. It was Jesus instituting the Eucharist according to John. From a very early date, the Eucharist was a regular part of Christian worship which Jesus established as a New Covenant in His body and Blood. The service is recorded in Acts 2:42-46 as celebrated by the Apostles. All four Gospels link Jesus' passion to the Jewish Passover. The synoptic gospels affirm that Jesus instituted the ritual of bread and wine at the Last Supper, with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. Jesus in the wilderness instituted a new Covenant in his own body and blood. In John 6, Jesus spiritually identifies his body as the manna and his blood as His life.

What was Jesus giving Thanks for? Was He giving thanks that in the wilderness His disciples would desert Him over His commandment to eat my body and drink my blood? Or, later in the upper room, that Judas would betray Him, or Peter would deny Him, or the Church would condemn Him, or Pilate would crucify Him?

Not hardly. Jesus was giving thanks to the Father that no matter what happened either here in the wilderness or there in Jerusalem, The Father would be with Him. His prayer to the Father was not to take the disciples out of the World.  He does not want to take us out of the dangers we face. He wants to give us the Power of His Presence to get us through the difficult times. John 17:15

You can prove this by discovering the difference between being in or out of the Presence of God's Peace the last time you struggled with a difficult situation.  If you can discover this truth in a past moment, you can discover it in the next one as well. It fits all times and all sizes.


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