In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.” His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied.
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed them and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
Without going into detail about today's readings, I would like to share with you two ways of looking at it that can help us to live this Gospel. A look at ourselves, at our interiority, a look that helps us to discover all that God has already given us, including spiritual, intellectual and moral gifts. The more we recognise these gifts, the more we can share them with our brothers and sisters.
Secondly, an external look, a look towards God. A generous God teaches us to be generous. The moment we recognise the gifts, we must also recognise the Author of these gifts, God. In recognising the Author of these gifts, we will imperatively seek, in all sincerity, His will. There we will discover how much God needs each of us, and our presence. Thus, every act or gesture or word, chosen and accomplished, will become de facto, a close cooperation with God, of the accomplishment of the divine will. Certainly, in this accomplishment, for our wonder, we will be witnesses of the multiplication.
Action of the day: Know and identify what you have.
“They have nothing to eat”
Fr. Carles ELÍAS i Cao
Today, in our times of inclemency and anxiety, Jesus also calls us to tell us he feels “pity for the crowd” (Mk 8:2). Today, with the peace process in crisis, fear, apathy, banality and evasion may abound: “and have nothing to eat.”
Whom is the Lord calling to? The text says: “he summoned the disciples” (Mk 8:1), that is, He calls me, not to send them home hungry, to give them something to eat. Jesus sympathizes with them —this time in heathen land— because they are hungry.
But, alas! Sheltered in our little world, we say we can do nothing about it. “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” (Mk 8:4). Where shall we find a true and firm word of hope while knowing the Lord will be with us every day till the end of time? How can we tell the believers and the non-believers that violence and death are no solution?
Today, the Lord simply asks us how many loaves have we. Whatever we have, this is what He needs. The text says “seven”, a symbol for the heathen, just as twelve was a symbol for the Jewish people. The Lord wants to reach us all —this is why the Church, from its Catholicism, wants to recognize itself— and is asking for your help. Give Him your prayer: it is a loaf of bread! Give Him the Eucharist you have celebrated: it is another loaf of bread! Give Him your decision to reconcile with those you love, with those that have offended you: still another loaf of bread! Give Him your sacramental reconciliation with the Church: another loaf! Give Him your little sacrifice, your fasting, your solidarity: and still another loaf! Give Him your love for his Word that soothes and gives you strength: more bread! Anyway, give Him whatever He asks from you, though you may believe it is not worthwhile.
As St. Gregory of Nyssa says: “He who splits his bread with the poor becomes a part of He who, for us, wanted to be poor. The Lord was poor; do not be afraid of poverty.”