SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
And to the man he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.
Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.
Psalm 90: 2-6, 12-13
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning;
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
Turn, O Lord! How long? Have compassion on your servants!
In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.” His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha
In the scriptures today, we read about the consequences of the fall of man coupled with the miracle of the loaves and fishes. In the first reading, God tells Adam and Eve how they are cursed for their disobedience: man is going to have to work hard all the days of his life to till the ground and eat by it, struggling until he dies and returns to it. In the psalm, we are warned to number our days wisely, aware that our time on earth is short. A thousand years are like a day in God’s eyes.
In the Gospel, Jesus multiplies the loaves and fishes to feed four thousand people. The disciples, who are accustomed to living under the curse, can't answer Jesus' question about how to feed so many people. They know how bread is made and it takes time, materials, and work. Then Jesus demonstrates his power over the limits of the law of nature or the curse from the fall of man. Unlike man, who is bound by the curse of original sin to toil over the land, all of nature is subject to God.
The disciples faced a big logistical problem. It was an impossible situation where, rationally, people would have had to return to their homes fasting and possibly fainting. It was an every man for himself moment where all you could do was wish them well. But Jesus was with them and because they had made a personal sacrifice of staying with him and prioritizing spending time with him, he was not going to abandon them in their need. He blessed them, multiplying their food without anyone having to work and sweat for it. He was showing us the coming of his kingdom and the return we will someday make to the garden.
Where we are bound, God is not bound. He rules over nature and provides for the needs of his children. Jesus came to free us from the curse of original sin and provide for us in ways we did not think were possible. In this miracle, he shows how he is the key to our freedom from the curse, and that through him we can trust that our needs are going to be taken care of.
Today, what areas of your life seem impossible? Is there something hidden, or a longstanding request, where you need divine assistance ? Is there a pattern of sin you can’t seem to beat? Spend time with Jesus in prayer. Trust that he is the key to moving the immoveable and to have compassion to provide for all your needs.