FEEDING OF THE FIVE THOUSAND
John 6: 1-42.
1. During those days another large crowd gathered.
they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said,
"My friends, gather round. I have compassion on the crowd, because
they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. I am
3. But Peter said, "Lord, your heart is great, but what can we do? There must be, oooh, at least five thousand people here on the hillside. How can we feed so many? Where are we to get the food from?"
4. Jesus answered him by asking, "How much food do we have?"
5. There was a long pause, and Jesus said, "I see."
6. John, (the disciple whom Jesus loved in another version), spoke up.
7. "Lord, there is a young boy here who says he's prepared to give us his bread rolls and two small fish."
8. But the boy cried, "No I never........!" And John took him aside, saying unto him, "Shut up, or you know what's coming to you!"
9. And Jesus said, "Come hither, lad!" But the boy cried even the more, saying, "Tell him to let go!"
10. But Jesus laid his hand upon the disciple, saying unto him discreetly, "Restrain yourself, John. Let the lad come to me." And turning to the boy he said to him, "Now then, my boy, is this true? You are prepared to give us your packed lunch?
11. But the boy said, "What's it worth? And Jesus said,
12. "Oh, what sweetness from the lips of children! How can such a gift have a value. Surely it is reward enough to know that you are now part of a miracle, and that in generations to come the redactionists will see your gesture as a prefigurement of a Eucharistic offertory?"
13. But the boy continued to look unsure, mumbling, "Eh? You're barking mad!"
14. Jesus insisted all the more, saying, "Just give me the basket!"
15. And taking hold of the basket Jesus lifted the napkin (which had been about the boys face, but which later had been found lying apart from the basket on the ground), looked and said, "Now, what have we here? Five small loaves of unleavened bread, and two small smoked haddock."
16. Yet Peter said, "Lord, I make it seven loaves and two fish."
17. Jesus retorted, "Does it matter which version I am using? Five loaves and two fish - it sort of 'rolls' off the tongue easier. Just my little joke, Peter! Now get the people to sit on the ground."
18. And Peter yelled, "Come on! Do as the Master says if you want any lunch!"
19. And Jesus said unto him, "Now feed them yourselves!"
20. Then there came a man unto them, saying, "Just a minute! Just a minute!"
21. And Jesus looked at him with wonder, saying, "A voice crying on the hillside! Tell me, good sir, who are you?"
22. And the man said unto him, "Obadiah ben Judas - Caesarea Office of Health and Safety. Here's my card, but the photo's not a very good likeness, I'm afraid."
23. Jesus said, "Tell me, Obadiah ben Judas, what is your business here?"
24. And he answered, "I want to examine these simple comestibles that you, in your goodness, are about to offer to these faithful people here gathered."
25. Jesus put down his morsel of bread, saying, "Come again?"
26. And again the man said unto him, "I want to check the food!"
27. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven, crying out with a loud voice, "Check the food? Why, good friend, surely the goodness of God in all his mercy, opening his hands, and providing for our every need, does not need checking?"
28. But he said, "Oooh -you're wrong there, Rabbi. There's weevils, see."
29. Jesus queried, "Weevils?"
30. And Obadiah ben Judas explained, saying, "And ticks! Nasty things, ticks - get everywhere, and itch like hell if you pardon the expression, Rabbi!"
31. Peter came to his Lord's side, saying, "Master, the people are hungry!"
32. But the man continued, "I'm sorry, but under the authority granted unto me under the AD 27 Public Health and Safety, brackets Restaurants, close brackets, Act, I have to sequester these bread rolls as a definite infringement of the above said Act - there's mould on them!
33. Jesus looked down on his morsel, and said, "That's not mould - that's a piece of olive!"
34. But Peter said, "It looks like mould to me, Lord!" And Jesus gave him a withering look, saying, "Prevaricator! Oh very well, there's a tiny bit of mould!"
35. And the man continued, saying, " ....Which precludes these said oven-baked unleavened Galilean sticks from any sort of public distribution, retail or otherwise!"
36. But Peter was upset, crying, "But our master is about to perform a sign!" Yet the man stood his ground and licked his pencil, saying, "Don't get Johannine with me! That counts as 'otherwise', I'm afraid."
37. Jesus agreed, saying unto Peter, "He's right, Peter - just give them the fish."
38. But the man peered into the basket at the two small smoked haddock, saying unto them, "Ah yes, the fish. Let me have a look at those!"
39. And there was a short pause.
40. And the man said, "As I thought! Have you read the sell-by date on these?"
41. And Jesus had not, saying, "No. Where is it?"
42. And the man extended his finger, saying unto him, "There! Just behind the dorsal fin. They're two weeks out of date! If this gets to court they could crucify you!"
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