Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (8: 1-10) in which Jesus takes pity on a large, hungry crowd which has been with him for three days with nothing to eat.

Fr Paul says both Mark and Matthew give two stories of the wonder of Jesus feeding the crowds. It is possible that they are two accounts of the same event.

The first account of feeding the crowds is Mark (6:30). Today we hear the second account and the detailed differences suggest that the first account in Mark 6 envisages a Jewish audience, while this second account envisages a Hellenistic audience. The first account in Mark 6 is placed on the western side of the Lake, while the present account takes place on the eastern side, the gentile side. The 12 baskets of scraps in the first account correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel, while the 7 loaves and 7 baskets of scraps fit the traditional 7 gentile nations of Canaan and the 7 Hellenistic deacons.

Through of this Mark is simply trying to tell us that the gentile followers of Jesus are his chosen company just like the Jewish followers, and that all share his heavenly banquet.

Fr Paul notes today’s Gospel Lesson – All are welcome at the Lord’s table.