A Respite from Mark’s Gospel
This weekend, we begin to journey with St. John’s gospel. For the next few weeks, you and I will be hearing from what biblical scholars refer to as the “Bread of Life” discourse.
One of the obvious reasons why we get a break from Mark is that his gospel is too short, perhaps not enough to suffice the whole liturgical year. Thus, John’s gospel needs to be inserted into the year of St. Mark.
Mark is the oldest of the four gospels. Scholars believe that Mark is the main source of the Evangelists as they taught their own communities. Thus, we will notice many similarities in all of the four gospels and yes many nuances.
As we get a respite from Mark’s account, I find it interesting that the Church has chosen the 6th Chapter of John’s gospel. As I’ve said earlier this is John’s long catechesis on the Bread of Life. Perhaps, the Church is asking us to look deeper into what John is trying to convey. How is the Bread of Life discourse applicable in our lives today?
The story begins with Jesus ministering to the needy- the sick, the lonely, the marginalized, the outcast. These are the people longing for acceptance, help, love, welcome, understanding – basically in need of “life-giving connections.” I believe we can relate to the people of Jesus’ time. Look around. How many people do we know who are longing for our compassion and kindness? As we unravel the gospel stories for the next few weeks, I encourage all of us to take a moment not only to read, but more importantly to pray with the scriptures – ponder, wonder, and ask.
Throughout the gospel story Jesus refers to himself as the bread that will satisfy the deepest longings of the people. This prefigures the celebration of the Eucharist. Every time we gather for the Eucharist, the events of the multiplication of loaves as described by John becomes present. It is in this banquet where we are nourished with that bread of life who is Jesus.