Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). In this Sunday’s gospel (John 6:1-21), Jesus reveals Himself as the God of abundance in whom there is all fullness of life. We see this first symbolized in the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish. There was an abundance of people, as many as five thousand, an abundance of grass, offering everyone a place to rest, a miraculous abundance of food from five barley loaves and two fish and an abundance of leftovers. People ate until they were satisfied. With Jesus, there is abundantly more than enough food to satisfy our spiritual hunger. He even sacrificed His own self as spiritual nourishment for us!
But without faith we fail to look beyond the physical realm to fulfill our yearnings for meaning, or a deeper life. A large crowd followed Jesus “because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick.” Yet the crowd could not release their personal agendas to recognize Jesus’ divine power in the miraculous feeding. Instead, they attempted to forcibly make Jesus an earthly king who would continuously meet their physical needs out of His abundance. Jesus rejects this earthly self-focused kingship. His higher purpose is to usher in God’s kingdom of love, peace and justice.
In His powerful movements in the elements of nature, Jesus speaks also of His abundance. The second half of the gospel, states that the disciples went ahead of Jesus by boat. As the evening turned to night, a strong wind blew against the boat. The disciples were terrified as Jesus appeared walking on the waters of the rough sea. Jesus calmed their fears, using words that echo God’s divine name spoken to Moses at the burning bush, “It is I”. Jesus is Lord of creation and Lord of all our life situations. He is the great “I AM” who with super-abundant strength, travels with us on the dark waters of life and calms our storms. Jesus is God of abundant love who lavishes us with inner peace and joy for He is “able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine….” To Him be glory forever and ever!