Sixth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Marc.8.v.1 Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Mark 8:1-9
In those days again, when there was great multitude and they had nothing to eat; calling his disciples together, he saith to them: "I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way: for some of them came from afar off." And his disciples answered him: "From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness?" And he asked them: "How many loaves have ye?" Who said: "Seven." And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, he broke and gave to his disciples for to set before them. And they set them before the people. And they had a few little fishes: and he blessed them and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat and were filled: and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand. And he sent them away.
The disciples had seen Christ multiply five loaves before at another time, to suffice five thousand people, and therefore they needed not to have asked, now, where they might have bread, but rather have said; Lord, we remember how thou diddest multiply five loaves & two little fishes heretofore, and didst feed therewith five thousand mouths, and leave more fragments then the principal, therefore thou canst now feed these people with seven, if it please thee: but thus dull, weak, and simple were they before the coming of the holy Ghost, & afterwards so furnished with knowledge and strength, that they were fit instruments to convert the world unto belief of the high and hidden mysteries of the Christian faith; and to the humble, hard and painful practice thereof, Christ the more to show his power, did choose of purpose such as were simple, and weak to confound the wise and strong, as oftentimes he giveth that Grace now unto such, if they be the true disciples and followers of Christ, as they were, but especially unto priests & other Ministers of the church, who if they be duly chosen, & assumpted to that function,they may well hope, that God who giveth the office, will likewise give his grace,and benediction to discharge it according to this testimony of the Prophet David; Our Lord will give words to them that evangelize, or preach the Gospel,in much virtue, or power.
We may observe also, that Christ here for all his infinite wisdom, did seem to consult with his poor,weak and simple disciples,where he should have to feed all those people in the wilderness; and though it be not expressed so here for brevity's sake, yet is it very like, for so he did in his other feeding of five thousand people, with five loaves of bread and two little fishes, saying unto St. Philip in the presence of his other disciples, Where shall we have bread here in the wilderness to feed all this multitude?
This he did to teach us, though we think our selves never so wise, to advise with others, especially in spiritual affairs, though far more weak and simple then ourselves, because Christ tell us that God oftentimes reveal such matters unto little ones, and hide them from the wise and prudent, yea and even in worldly affairs it is wisdom so to do.
The wise man Solomon sayth: The way of a fool is right right in his own eyes, but a wise man will hear counsel: so that to hear counsel is a sign of a wise man,and the contrary of a fool.
The wise man that hath least need will counsel with others; the fool that hath not need will counsel with non; in the one there is extreme folly, pride, and peril, in the other great wisdom, humility and security.
We may also observe, that Christ before he fed the people with corporal food, fed them with spiritual, lifting up no doubt his eyes unto heaven, as his custom was, blessing the bread,and giving thanks to God for those seven loaves they had; instructing us to do the like for all our food in general at least, & as much as we can in particular, for every several dish, secretly in our minds,apprehending that God giving us many dishes whereas one, yea even bread, might suffice,doth in that respect multiply our food,as he did here the bread, that we may likewise multiply thanks for the same.
Lastly we may observe, that Christ taking the bread into his own hands,and giving it to his disciples, to distribute to the people,taught the Pastors of the Church, such as the disciples were to be, that they must according to their name, and appellation of Pastor, (which signify a feeder) feed their flock not only with the spiritual food of sound doctrine, and good example of life, but also, with hospitality and corporal food.
For St. Paul exhort lay men, as he doth to practice hospitality, charging them not to forget it, as a most sovereign good work,whereby some have deserved to entertain Angels: if I say St. Paul exhort lay men hereunto;much more the pastors of the Church, who by name and office must be feeders of their flock by hospitality as well as doctrine, as is aforesaid,and especially of the poor, who are Gods Angels, for which they shall receive the reward of Angels, according to that comfortable promise of Christ, he that receive a Prophet in the name of a Prophet, shall have the reward of a Prophet: and he that receive a just man in the name of a just man,shall receive the reward of a just man.