Jesus received the crowds and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here." He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people." Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of (about) fifty." They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
Introductory Prayer: Oh Sacrament most holy, oh Sacrament divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment thine!
Petition: Lord give me the Bread of Life so that I may never hunger again. Make me worthy to receive you today and every day of my life. I want my life to be melted into yours. Just as bread is made from wheat grain that dies and is ground into flour to be kneaded into a mass of dough, shaped, and passed through fire, so I want my life to be part of yours. Grant me the grace to receive you often in this sacrament.
1. Give Them Some Food Yourselves: The Apostles are incapable of doing what Jesus did for the crowd. They could never meet this challenge. Christ wants them to feel their helplessness in order to illustrate his power and his care for the multitude. How often we try to fix all of life’s problems on our own! We think that we are so powerful until we come across a great obstacle such as the one facing the apostles. They wondered in that moment what they could possibly give. We have received so much from God that we can become spoiled by his gifts. He lovingly has given us the ability to solve many problems in this life – whether our own or those of others. But sometimes we are faced with the impossibility of independently reaching a solution; here we can become proud and disgruntled. We often don’t know how to put this type of problem in God’s hands.
2. They All Ate and Were Satisfied: Christ feeds us with the living bread. No one has a better solution to our problems than Christ. The Apostles were thinking on a much smaller scale. Anything they could come up with would be very small and incomplete. Christ has an abundant solution. He feeds the multitude until they are completely satisfied. There is so much bread left over that it fills twelve baskets – one for each apostle. Was this perhaps a personal sign to each of them of Christ’s ability to do what they couldn’t? One day they would also provide living bread through their priesthood. It would still come from Christ but would be distributed through their hands. This gift comes down to our age too. Christ has commissioned many apostles to provide the living bread to the multitude of the members of the Church. Today we celebrate this great sacrament as the continuing presence of Christ among us. He continues to give himself to us as our daily Bread.
3. Living Bread for the Living Body: The sequence written for today’s Mass reminds us of a reality: the Eucharist is food for the living only. Those who would approach his altar unworthily do not receive his love but condemnation. It seems odd that this longstanding teaching held zealously for centuries is so hotly contested today by public figures who, while giving complete support to intrinsically evil acts (abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, etc.), claim to be faithful in their love to Christ, thus having the “right” to receive Him in Communion. We need to convert our lives and approach him in the sacrament of penance before approaching him as the “true bread of his sons and daughters that should never be given to dogs.”
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you revealed yourself to your Apostles through the wonders of your miraculous love. Help me to see you with eyes of faith, to know you in the great works you do for me and for others through me. Teach me as you taught your Apostles to unite myself to you in living my life for others. I pray that you may use me as you used them to touch the lives of many. Help me be humble and confident in your presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Resolution: I will visit the Lord in the Eucharist this week. I will try to spend some time before him in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, thanking him for the gift of himself in this sacrament and asking him to make me his apostle.