The five thousand who had been fed with the five loaves wanted to know if Jesus could make bread fall out of the sky.


Monday, 4/23/12
The next day the five thousand who had been fed with the five loaves came around the top of the lake, catching up with Jesus in Capernaum, and they asked him what sign he could do.
What was behind that question was an old believe Jews had heard as children. They had been told that when the Messiah came he would imitate Moses by making bread fall from the sky. Jesus went on to tell them that he himself was the bread come down from heaven.
Now, let me repeat something I always say about that first reading from The Acts of the Apostles.
The young men who argued with St. Stephen, and who would later stone him to death, were identified as “members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen.” It is worth our while to know who those men were.
A number of Jewish people were engaged in trade in every port in the Roman Empire, and the Romans had a tricky way of keeping those scattered Jews from causing trouble. From every port they took a few young Jewish men, bringing them to Rome for five-year spells as hostages.
Though those young men were not very religious at first, through being in captivity for being Jews, they usually became quite religious. It often happened that at their release after five years as hostages they found going to Jerusalem to be preferable to going home. They established their own synagogue near the temple.
At the core of their strong Jewishness was the importance they saw in keeping kosher. That had them feeing antagonistic toward the followers of Christ who were eating with Gentiles, and making little of Jewish rules.
When those young men took off their cloaks for throwing stones at Stephen, a Pharisee named Saul watched over the cloaks for them. That man who would become the Apostle Paul, at that time felt he was doing the right thing.
This story should teach us to be respectful of those with political and religious views different from ours. 

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