This morning we have Matthew’s version of the “loaves and fishes” story (MT 15: 29-37). He says there were seven loaves and “a few fishes”. Something struck me about the miracle that I hadn’t felt in the same way before this morning. The process for the distribution was as follows: Jesus took the loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all were satisfied.
The point of the process is that the disciples were a necessary link in the miracle’s chain. Jesus gave the job of distribution to them. That could be seen as simply efficient because of the number of people but what if their participation was essential to the multiplication? It is also true that this verse is strikingly similar to the words of Jesus at the Last Supper when he commissions his disciples to remember him each time they celebrate what has come to be known as Eucharist. So it sounds this morning that as we prepare to celebrate the incarnation of Jesus at Christmas, we ought to be thinking about our willingness to assent to the role of feeding those who are hungry for bread or for the presence of God in their midst. We may be, as the saying goes, “the only gospel they ever read.”