Saturday 8th January
Today’s first reading, surely, is among the finest moral exhortations in the whole Bible. Human beings are called and graced into the image of God; and since God’s essence is love, God’s children must be characterised by their spirit of love. The quality is also how we “live through him” that is, through Jesus who is Love Incarnate. Finally, he appeals to the “noblesse oblige” principle, “since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” Our Gospel passage reinforces this message by the example of Jesus feeding the crowds. Significantly, Mark notes that this was because he “had compassion for them,” and did not want to send them away hungry.
First Reading: 1 John 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Gospel: Mark 6:34-44
As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loave numbered five thousand men.