July 26, 2009

Putting Yourself in the Scene

Imagine the scene in today's Gospel reading (John 6:1-15). Can you imagine being in one of the apostle's shoes? Poor Philip. He's in class and the teacher is asking him a trick question.

Written accounts can't easily convey posture or tone. I wonder how Philip looked and sounded in reply to Jesus' question. Was he surprised? Exasperated? Apologetic? Embarassed?

If you were portraying Philip on film, how would you play this scene?

What if you stood in for Andrew? Would you offer those meager few fish with a sheepish look and soft voice? Would you offer them with confidence that while you may not see "what good are these for so many", Jesus surely would.

I find that putting myself in "the scene" - sometimes even moving and talking aloud - helps me see it more vividly. Finding any way to dive deeper into the event - playing the scene, writing about it, doing your feeding five thousand calculations, etc. - can connect us to it in a more real way.

Imagine it. Jesus has told you to let all five thousand or so recline (the way people of the time took meals) but not why. Note that Jesus doesn't say "because I'm about to do something". There is simply an implied, unspoken "trust me". And the disciples do.

As we do. As we trust Christ's word at each Mass that He is really present in the appearance of bread and wine. As we trust Christ when we put ourselves in this scene at Mass - gathing together to hear His words, and to take and eat. And as before, the bread is broken and passed. Each of us receives God in full, the spiritual food that will not run out. There is abundance of His grace, His Holy Spirit, and His Body and Blood to fill us all.

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