26 March 2006
Where Shall We Buy Bread?
Today we hear that the Lord God again leads a crowd into the wilderness. Like the first time, it is near the time of the Passover. Like the first time, the Lord has done signs and wonders which draw them to trust Him. And so a great multitude follows Him, because they see His signs which He performs on those who are diseased. And like the first time, the Lord gives bread in the wilderness not because a crowd follows Him, not because the disciples clamor for it, but because He has compassion on them. It is mercy, and solely His mercy, that prompts Him to act.
Yet His intention is also to test the disciples. For He Himself knew what He would do. So our merciful Jesus says to Philip, Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat? Do you truly think I will send these people away hungry? Do you honestly believe that I will forsake anyone who follows Me, anyone who longs to hear My word, anyone who looks to Me for any help? Have I been with you so long, Philip, and still you do not know Me? To whom else are they looking? Upon whom else do they rely? The eyes of all wait upon Me, O Philip! And I give them their food in due season. I open My hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. For I am the Bread which comes down from heaven. I am the Bread of Life. And I am the Living Bread. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. So, Philip, Where, O where, shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
With words like these, Our Lord urges Philip and the others—and even you and me—to believe that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights. And Our Lord also urges us to believe that it lies in our hands not to make our own way, but to trust and obey, to receive and submit to Our Lord precisely because He is compassionate, faithful, and merciful. The more we see that, the more we understand that we are at a loss to give anything—except to give thanks; and to do anything—except to do whatever Our Lord commands.
The following is an excerpt from today's sermon.