Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
The multiplication of bread reminds us the establishment of Eucharist, where Jesus took the bread, blessed them and gave to his disciples. Though simple it looks like for our memory, it’s exactly what wished for the humanity. That everything be simple, humble and comprehensible, so that the divine mysteries be well accepted, and be part of our own history. We are called to do in memory of this, which will be culminated, on the Cross, and will be accepted and understood by the disciples, in later days. It’s a pleasure to participate in the pascal mystery, particularly in the passion of Christ.
Be receiving the bread from the people, God insists the importance of our participation in the accomplishment of the salvific plan of God, God counts on us even today. It’s here God wishes to establish an intimate relationship with us. The table sharing was one of important places where God has chosen to teach the pascal mysteries to his disciples. The perfect communion is easily established, while sharing the meal with our brothers and sisters. It’s important that we underline, the disappearance of the disciples after the event, and the centre place that they have accorded to their Master. It should be the same, even today, in our own activities, including, social, professional and spiritual relationship. Let God takes the centre place, and the glory and honour be reserved to God.
Action of the day: Be ready to share with God.
“He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do”
Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater
(Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)
Today, we read in the Gospel the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves: “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted” (Jn 6:11). The utter devastation of the Apostles facing so many hungry people makes us think of today's crowds, not on hunger, but much worse: far away from God, with a “spiritual anorexia”, preventing any participation in Easter and the possibility to meet Jesus. We do not know how to reach so many people... In today's reading, a message of hope is fluttering: lack of means does not matter; supernatural resources do; let us not be “realistic”, but “full of trust” in God. Thus, when Jesus asks Philip where could they buy some bread for all those people “He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do” (Jn 6:5-6). The Lord expects us to trust Him.
When looking at these “signs of the times”, we are not expecting passivity (laziness, languor for lack of fighting...), but hope: to work a miracle, the Lord wants the Apostles courage and dedication and the generosity of the boy who is willing to give some barley loaves and the two fish. Jesus also multiplies our faith, obedience and boldness, even though we cannot see right away the fruit of our efforts, just as the farmer cannot see the stalk already appearing after sowing. Saint Josemaria Escrivá said: “We must, then, have faith and not be dispirited. We must not be stopped by any kind of human calculation. To overcome the obstacles we have to throw ourselves into the task so that the very effort we make will open up new paths”… that will pop up unexpectedly.
Let us not wait for the right moment to place whatever we have at our disposal: but as soon as possible! for Jesus is awaiting us to work the miracle. Saint John Paul II wrote: “The troubles the world scene presents at the beginning of the new millennium lead us to think that only an intercession from above may allow us to expect a less darker future.” Let us, therefore, turn to the Virgin Mary with the Rosary, for her mediation has always been felt in so many frail moments Mankind has gone throughout history.