Sunday, September 27, 2015
THE FIFTH LOAF
Loaves and Fish Mosaic, Tabgha, Israel
The disciples were so impressed with the miracle of Jesus feeding a multitude of five thousand with a young boy’s five barley loaves and two small preserved fish that it is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. We’ll never know exactly what happened on that grassy plain near the Sea of Galilee, but it was miraculous! Jesus was demonstrating to all of us how to share our generosity and showing us that “Little is much when God is in it!”
I was excited to arrive with our group at the Church of the Loaves and Fish early on a cool February morning, but we had to wait outside as other pilgrim groups were already inside the small sanctuary. Groups were also gathered outside on the veranda singing impromptu hymns, some in foreign languages.
Our group was finally able to enter the church and experience a simple stone alter over a large rock outcropping, that tradition says Jesus used to bless the young boy’s offering. We all silently paused awhile in this spiritual place and then began to disperse outside to make room for others. Because visiting this location was one of my primary reasons for making this long journey, I lingered behind to study the ancient mosaic of two fish and four loaves in front of the alter. When we later asked about the missing fifth loaf, we were given a very beautiful answer; “We are still receiving it”. After all, even Jesus referred to himself as “the bread of life”!