“After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’” They respond – “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people.” (Jn 6:1-5,9)
All four gospels contain this miracle, but only John’s Gospel defines the loaves as barley loaves. Barley, the grain of Passover, was the food of the poor. This simple offering by a child, surprisingly provided a way for all to be satisfied. In spite of overwhelming odds, the impossible became possible. Just like the companions of Jesus, we too can be faced with overwhelming situations, where we can’t see solutions. In this miracle story, we see that what is needed is offering what little we have to God. Then, out of our poverty, our darkness, our brokenness, God can take, bless and transform what we offer to a starving world.