Luke 9: 10 - 17
“You give them something to eat.”
Very often when the subject of poverty is raised thoughts turn to those who are hungry or even thirsty, those on our doorsteps and further afield who go without. Given the expansion of food banks in recent years and, in particular, over the past year there is no doubt as to the seriousness of this problem locally, nationally and globally. I have been encouraged by the response of people in giving generously to the foodbank in donating tins and all manner of produce to make a difference to the lives of individuals and families. At the same time it is an outrage that in this day and age we still have foodbanks. It is a blight on society that people are struggling when it comes to the very basics in life and that includes people on our own doorstep. It is to them that Jesus came and it is to them that he sends each and every one of us.
Jesus came to feed a hungry world and in this very short passage we see something of the hunger and the need that he came to meet. The first hunger was for the Word of God. People had obviously heard about Jesus’ teaching and gathered from all over to listen to him. He spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed those who needed it. But even though they hungered for the word Jesus didn’t forget or neglect their physical needs. The fact that in this account of the feeding of the multitude the disciples wanted Jesus to send the people away to look for food and lodgings suggests that they had come quite a distance to listen to Jesus and be fed by the living word of God. Here we can see how Jesus was interested in their total wellbeing - body, mind and soul. They would be hungry and Jesus ensured that they were fed in every possible way. He fed their minds with much to think about. He fed their souls with much to receive and help them grow in faith. He fed their bodies because he never ever wanted anyone to go without.
We grow hungry in so many ways and there are many in the world around us crying out to be fed with God’s living word to stimulate their thinking and their believing which will in turn inspire their living. There are many growing hungry in a world of plenty. We are fed that we might feed others, the same as “we love because God loved us first” (1 John 4: 19).
• When have you known hunger? What was it like? How did it feel? How do you feel when you see someone hungry in the street? In what ways could you feed others mind, body and soul?
Lord, we pray often for you to give us our daily bread.
As we thank you for your generosity, help us to seek ways
of sharing that daily bread with friend and stranger alike
that no-one might go hungry,
that all will know that they are loved.
In the name of Jesus, the very Bread of Life.