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Sunday, 5 August 2012

The last little meditation on the loaves and fishes passage

This particular meditation is more difficult for me. I was struck again when reading the passage at the familial relationships among the apostles. Now, remembering that the apostles are all men, this is significant.

Does the call of God to the priesthood run in families? I think so. I think in the good old days, before the disruptions of the 1970s, and even a bit earlier, families, such as mine, with priests and nuns tended to have more nuns and priests. I was taken to visit my aunt who is a nun and still living several times by my grandmother and parents. This was normal to go to the mother-house.

I loved it.

In this passage, John states clearly "One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother..."

Several things can be noted here. Firstly, Andrew is identified as Simon Peter's brother and Simon Peter is thereby given a higher and more honorable position by this data. Andrew is not just anyone's brother, but Peter's. And, both are disciples.

John also had a brother who was an apostle, James the Greater. All four of these men had been disciples of John the Baptist, so in a way, they were ready when the Baptizer pointed out Christ as the Lamb of God, as He Who was to come, as the Messiah, the Christ. Therefore, three of the four original apostles are mentioned in this Gospel passage. This is highly important.

John is showing the importance of this miracle. He is making it one of the centerpieces of his Gospel. Why?

The Eucharist is the centerpiece of the worship of the Church.

Peter and Andrew, James and John as two sets of brothers became cornerstones of the new Church, with Peter as the Rock, the foundation. How interesting that these physical brothers became spiritual brothers. But, they were that before they were called. Something in those families prepared the way for the fact that they said yes to Christ and became his disciples. Philip is always mentioned fifth after Peter, Andrew, James and John.

I pray that more families realize that the foundation for vocations to the priesthood is the family. There are three priests who are brothers here in England. This is not an accident. The Holy Spirit was working in that family not only to prepare those brothers for their vocations, but to open their hearts and minds to hear the call of God in the first place.

I wish that the turmoil of the late '60s and '70s would not have happened. There would be many more priests and nuns today.