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America StaffFebruary 25, 2018

Today’s visit to the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and the shore’s edge of the Sea of Galilee resonated with me for many reasons—not just because both Gospel readings center on food and eating and the fact I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 30 years.

That Jesus was able to take a basket of a few fish and some loaves of bread to feed thousands delights me not just because it’s proof that “there’s always room for one more at the table.” Here we also have an example we can follow of God taking a small thing and making something sweet.

Also, I taught religious education to second grade for 14 years, and in that time the story of the loaves and fishes was one of my favourites to share with 7- and 8-year-old children. In telling it to them, they learned that a child was as much the star of the story as Jesus, because without the contents of the basket the little boy carries, there might have been no miracle. (I geared the story to my audience!) It’s another lesson to grown-ups in how important we are to God, and a reminder to return the favor.

I found the mosaic in the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, of the remaining two fish and four loaves, moving in its simplicity. As works of mosaic art go, it isn’t dazzling; it is lacking in color, gold tile, and sparkle. Yet in its monochromatic simplicity, it expresses a story that was likely told for centuries from person to person, many of whom might not have been educated enough to read the Gospels themselves.

—Joyce Ann Flinn



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