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A Fire Within

They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps remaining were collected they filled twelve baskets
Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:1-4; I Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17

Sermon Week The Body and Blood of Christ Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 9:17

In one of Rembrandt's etchings, there is no halo around the Lord's head, but there is one around His hand. Over the years, the critics have debated Rembrandt's reason for doing this. But there can be no debate over the meaning of that symbolism for us. Jesus' hands are holy hands. Jesus' hands are sacred hands. Jesus used His holy, sacred hands as instruments of service. Jesus used His holy, sacred hands to heal the sick, transform death into life, and give sight to the blind. Jesus used His holy, sacred hands to bless, break, and give the five loaves and fishes that fed many thousands to His disciples.

Indeed. In today's Gospel Lesson, we find Jesus busy at work, using His holy, sacred hands. After preaching to the thousands of people who have been following Him and curing those in need of healing, the Apostles say to Him: "Send the crowds away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place" (Lk. 9:12). Jesus answers, "You give them something to eat." The Apostles do not understand. "We have no more than five loaves and two fish," they tell Jesus. But Jesus insists. "Make them sit down in companies, about fifty each," He says. And they do so. Then Jesus blesses the five loaves of bread and the two fish and gives the food to the Apostles to distribute to the crowd. They all eat and are satisfied, and there are even leftovers.

This episode in the life of Christ must have been significant in the life of the early Christians. It is a matter of great interest to note that until we come to the story of the Crucifixion, this is the only event in Jesus' life that appears in all four of the Gospels. Moreover, it appears in a slightly altered form in some of the Gospels more than once. Clearly, the early Christians found this incident so helpful that they wanted to ensure that later generations would get the message.

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