We continue our discovery of the gospel; what Jesus does, what he says but also what the people and children who meet him do. Today, we will take you on a very special adventure. Imagine a boy who is in the middle of a huge crowd of 15,000, maybe 20,000 people in full campaign. What is he doing here? What is he interested in? He took his meal with him; he definitely planned to spend the whole day with them; what for? Let’s listen to this story that you can find in chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. Then you can answer my question: What can I give to Jesus?
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Full text of this story :
WHAT WILL HE GIVE TO JESUS?
Imagine these people talking: – Oh! Jesus and his disciples are in a boat! – Yes! We have recognized them! – They’re sailing across the lake. Let’s go! By following the shore, we will find them! – We’re coming with you, we love to hear him so much! The news spread to all the surrounding villages and towns. The old, the young, the children, sick people, parents, everyone sets out. They leave the house, they leave their work in the fields and all together they go. A young boy joins them, he wants to know that Jesus who works miracles, who heals the sick. He has his picnic, five barley buns and two grilled fish. When Jesus lands on the shore, what does he see? A huge crowd that is there and waiting. All eyes are on him. There are 5,000 men there, probably as many women and even more children. If we try to add up, how many people are there? 15,000 or more? But Jesus and his disciples are tired, they have come there to rest a little and now they are facing this multitude of people. Will Jesus send them away? Ignore them? Hide? No! He is moved by compassion, he sees them as a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Nobody to take care of them, bless them, protect them, guide them. He sits down and talks to them, he speaks good words to them, he encourages them; he teaches them much about the love of God and he heals the sick. Everybody listens to him carefully, even the children; they drink his words. And our young boy who is there receives these words in his heart, he even forgets about his snack. No one has seen time go by but the day is fading and everyone is hungry now, the little ones like the grown-ups. The disciples approach Jesus: – We are in an isolated place and it is getting late, dismiss all these people let them go to the villages and buy something to eat. – They do not need to go away, Jesus answers them, YOU are going to feed them. – How can we feed them! The disciples no longer know what to think; how can all this crowd be fed? But it’s impossible! – Where do you want us to go and get food for all this crowd, answers Philippe, even if we wanted to give everyone a small piece of bread, it would take a lot of money, almost a year’s salary, and we have nothing! Our young boy approaches André. Did he hear the conversation? In any case, this food problem does not concern him, he has his meal, he can eat his loaves and his fish and all is well for him. But no, he doesn’t want to eat when the others have nothing. – Here, he says to Andrew, it is for Jesus. Andrew is rather perplexed, he approaches Jesus: – There is a boy here who has five loaves of bread and two little fish but what can we do with it for all these people? It is as if Andrew said to Jesus: – It is completely ridiculous, this young boy is very thoughtful but he‘d better eat his meal himself. Jesus says to his disciples: – Make all these people sit on the grass in rows of 50 and 100! Make them sit down! But frankly, shouldn’t we rather send them home right away? The disciples no longer understand anything, but they obey. And the young boy? Well, now he’s like everyone else, he’s got nothing to eat. He doesn’t know who is going to eat his picnic, maybe Jesus or a disciple, he waits quietly. Everyone settles in the grass. You imagine those thousands of people sitting there waiting. But they what are waiting for? They don’t know, they did what Jesus said, that’s all. Jesus takes the young boy’s five buns and two fish. Nobody moves. He lifts his eyes skyward and aloud, he thanks God for this food. We hear his prayer of blessing. Then he divides the loaves and the fish into pieces and gives a few pieces to each of his disciples. No! Not for them to eat them because Jesus said to them: – Distribute them to all these people. And here are the disciples who begin to give a piece of bread and a piece of fish to one, a piece of bread and fish to another, then to another. What’s going on? As they distribute them they have pieces in their hands over and over again. This food multiplies. They pass through the ranks and everyone has enough to eat. What about our young boy? Well, he too eats as much as he wants , like the others, but t he couldn’t imagine for a moment that his picnic put in Jesus’ hands could be used to feed all that crowd. When they had all finished eating, Jesus said to his disciples: – Pick up the pieces that remain, so that nothing is wasted. Do you know how many baskets they filled with the remaining pieces of bread and fish? Not one basket, not two, but twelve large baskets. Faced with this miracle, people exclaim: – There is no doubt; Jesus is truly the one that God had promised to send, the one that the prophets had announced. Jesus asks his disciples to get back into the boat to cross the lake. Meanwhile, he will dismiss the crowd. During our next talk, we will find them during this crossing on the lake.
1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! Do you remember our question? What can I give to Jesus? It may be the question you ask yourself. Jesus is no longer on earth, he is in heaven, so what do you do? Well, like this young boy. When you learn about a difficult situation, from friends, from people near you or far away who do not have what is necessary for their life, food, clothing by example and YOU have all you need, then share, give wholeheartedly, with joy, out of love for this person but also out of love for the Lord. It may be little to you and in the eyes of others, but ask Jesus to bless him and he will multiply it beyond what you can imagine. He still works miracles today. Listen to what he tells us, it will encourage you: All that you do, all that you give, even to the smallest, then, you do it to me.
4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! Our children are not too small to learn to give, to share, not only as a family, with relatives, but also more broadly with others. Encourage them to give to those who need, need affection, attention, help, money, food, clothes. Jesus tells us that there is joy in giving, so why wouldn’t they taste the joy of giving? Giving to others, for us, is like giving to Jesus.