I’d like to encourage those who are dipping into this blog, to consider me, facilitator of the book study on the ferry, as something of a physical fitness coach. Just as your coach would come alongside and help you set goals and prompt and push and evaluate you, while you yourself are doing all the work, especially in between the weekly or monthly meetings with her (!) I am setting forth goals of Scripture reading in St. John’s gospel each month, giving you a weekly push of encouragement as well as mini-goals (questions to ponder) as you aim for the monthly goal of better understanding of this marvelous book. Really, this is the only way to properly consider my role in this whole undertaking, because we are actually leaping through a gospel upon which we could in fact meditate extensively, in detail, over a period of years.
So, keeping that in mind, I’ll remind you to read and reread throughout the month chapters 5 and 6 in preparation for our next Faith on the Ferry book group study on Wednesday morning, March 6. (But, don’t stay away if you have not had opportunity to “exercise” this month, because simply jumping into it that morning will bless you, and your presence will bless us!)
Here are a few things to think about in the first part of chapter 6:
– The great sign of the multiplication of the loaves is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels (besides the Resurrection). It would be a good exercise to read the other three accounts (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; and Luke 9:10-17) and take note of the similarities and differences in how the event is related. Also, especially take note of details which St. John supplies in his account, asking yourself what the significance of these might be.
– Read II Kings 4:42-44 to see a parallel with a miracle done through the prophet Elisha. What are the differences between the Old Testament miracle and that of Jesus in John 6: 1-15? Compare II Kings 4:44 to John 6:11 to take note of something which will have taken on a deep liturgical meaning by the time John wrote his narrative.
– Matthew is the only gospel writer who adds the details about Peter’s perilous experience attempting to walk on the water like Jesus did in John 6:17-21. Recognizing that Matthew’s primary emphasis in writing for the Jews was to point them to Jesus, Son of David, can you surmise why he decided to include this incident about Peter in his account?
Next Friday I will have some suggestions for approaching the great teaching of Jesus concerning the Bread of Life, which is central to St. John’s gospel, and so central to our faith as Catholic Christians. Shalom, JC