We are given the second feeding of thousands in the Gospel of Mark today. This time there were 4000 fed by Jesus. It seems like we just had this reading in Mark for the other feeding. Why the repeat so soon? What are we supposed to "get" from this one that we didn't "get" from the other one?'
Perhaps one thing to consider is that for those 4000, in those days as our Gospel selection begins today, perhaps for those this wasn't a repeat, this was something new. Perhaps this repeat of a mass feeding, both of which are precursors to, hints of, The Last Supper which is yet to come in the story, is meant to provide one of the answers to the perennially asked question and statement: Why do I go to church each week and receive communion? It's the same thing over and over again! We can ask in return, is it really the same thing?
Perhaps Mark is telling us that this is not a "repeat" but an important aspect of table fellowship: a repeated newness, a constant reminder of God's great love for us, a deepening of our relationship with each other and with God. A remaking of us each and every time we gather around a common meal together to strengthen, renew, make new again the Body of Christ we all are in the world. That's really not a repeat, this is something new.
Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.