Gospel Reflections (Mark 6:30-34)

Today we begin a series of six Sunday gospels on the Eucharist. As this year’s gospel (Mark) is too short to provide readings for the whole year, the Church takes five Sunday readings from the Bread of Life Discourse in John’s Gospel, introducing
them with the account of the Feeding in Mark’s Gospel. The story of the Feeding can be read on several levels. The event is a foretaste of the Eucharist, with the disciples gathered round Jesus as the new Israel (12 baskets for the 12 tribes) for a fully satisfying meal, the messianic banquet. Furthermore, Jesus is the good shepherd who feeds his flock, according to Psalm 23, on the green pastures beside the restful waters of the Lake of Galilee. Jesus is also the prophet like Moses who provides manna for his people in the desert or, more precisely, he is like Elisha in 2 Kings 4 (next Sunday’s first reading). The story in Mark’s account of the Feeding is recounted in terms which deliberately recall these and other biblical scenes, to enrich and deepen our understanding of what is happening. How does this reading help you understand how the Lord gathers and prepares us to be fed through his gift of the Eucharist?

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