and if I send them away to their homes hungry, they will break down on the way; and some of them have come a long distance.”
heading home changed
takes extra stamina
to slide through new doors
temptations grow weed fast
parting wonder stressed
is reason enough
How shall we renew our strength? Walk and not faint? (Isaiah 40:31)
Daily bread, literal and metaphoric!
It has been a three-day workshop in healing. We came for our own and rejoiced in all the other healings as if they were our own.
Even so, it has been three days.
Matthew says directly what Mark here suggests: “I do not want to send them away” (Matthew 15:32)
A reference to Psalm 107:4f is also in order at this point: “Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.”
Waetjen138–139 raises some questions about the two feedings.
Why does Jesus wait three days in order to provide a meal for these enthusiastic and devoted gentiles? Earlier he had fed the Jewish multitudes on the very day they had joined him in the wilderness.
He goes on to speculate, as do most commentators, that there is a presaging of being resurrected after 3 days. This perspective is based on the number of days and a shift in language from eulogēsen (blessing in an Israelite crowd) to eucharistēsas (thanksgiving in a Gentile crowd).
In this feeding, after three days of accompanying Jesus without food, the gentiles will experience a foretaste of the eschatological reality of Easter. They will be renewed by the bread and the fish for their continuation “on the way.”
It is far simpler to remember Jesus’ sense of being a shepherd in the first feeding and to add to that the slowness with which he responded with a healing for the daughter of Justa, the Syrophoenician woman. Mark’s Jesus may still be working out the widening of a circle to include non-Israelites. In either case, feeding does happen.