The Vultures are Circling
As evening drew on, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late. Dismiss the crowds so they can go to the villages and buy some food for themselves.” Jesus said to them: “There is no need for them to disperse. Give them something to eat yourselves.” ~Matthew 14:15-16
The miracle story of feeding the multitudes occurs in every Gospel, even repeated with different crowd sizes. This likely indicates that it happened more than once, maybe often, perhaps regularly. The disciples were slow to learn that the spiritual economy is not based on scarcity, that there is actually an abundance if you have the eyes to see. It is not enough to be eagle-eyed, you have to know what to look for.
Like eagles, vultures have extremely good eyesight. Of course, they are looking for things that aren’t moving so they utilize additional senses, particularly the sense of smell. They are able to detect the smell of rotting flesh a mile away! As nature’s clean-up crew, scavengers see abundance where others see waste. They also are masters of efficiency. When you see them circling, they are riding the updraft of warm air without moving a muscle. With a simple adjustment to a single feather or two on the ends of their wings and they are able to steer their flight over incredible distances. The efficiency doesn’t end with conservation of energy, they are are also keen on collaboration. They have featherless heads and necks to aid in reaching inside a carcass while keeping the mess to a minimum, but they have very weak feet, so they are eager to take advantage of other animals beginning the work with teeth or talons. Thus, it is not unusual to see carrion surrounded by coyotes, eagles, and crows in addition to vultures. It may not be as appealing as two fish and five loaves, but it is an example of creatures finding abundance by each sharing their unique gift no matter how small or odd.
Prayer: Abundant Creator, replace our scarcity filters with eyes to see your unending grace that multitudes may be fed and we might find life even in death. Amen.