The Gospel according to John (John16:1-15)
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, thank you for this opportunity to sit quietly with your word. Please bless me and those I love as I pray and seek your holy will.
Encountering Christ: Todays gospel is all about “The Meal”. Jesus demonstrates or teaches through the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish, that there is plenty – or an abundance of – spiritual food
available to anyone wishing to be fed. This event was to foreshadow the institution of the Eucharist at the last supper with his apostles. This gathering and teachable moment showed the apostles that they must first trust in Jesus always AND secondly, that the Father provides an abundance of graces (spiritual food) for us.
Eucharist today can be likened to this great event of Jesus’ time, in that we are like the crowd coming to be taught and fed. We gather at Mass and are fed first by the Word (Readings and Gospel) and then at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer we receive Jesus in the Host and are fed spiritually in order to continue our journey and mission in life. We leave Mass not only fed but embolden in our faith, at least that is what is suppose to happen!
How many times have you seen people come to church and leave during communion time and not even receive our Lord in the Eucharist? Sad, but you know it happens. I think even more important we see a growing portion of our world-wide Catholic community moving away from believing the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Sit and pray about why this is happening in our world.
Do we really understand what Jesus was trying to teach us that day on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee? I think first of all He was testing the faith of his followers by asking them to gather food for the huge crowd. Do we see ourselves like the apostles? Do we sometimes think that the problem facing us is too big to handle? OR do we “Trust in Jesus” to take care of our situation/needs. Next, do we see the blessings God places before us when we are in need? Where do we draw our internal strength to meet the challenge in front of us? Do we have “Strength for the Journey” or is our spiritual tank empty OR only half full. Let’s face it – if our spiritual life is in order, even the hardest situations are manageable when we are in concert with Jesus and the Father.
The Gospel today makes a point about gathering the fragments or leftovers of fish and loaves. Nothing was to go to waste. Eucharist for us is the same. This gathering of the leftovers demonstrates to us and the crowd that the Father always blesses us with an abundance – more than we need – of spiritual blessings. Eucharist IS our strength and our sharing with and in Jesus.
Today we are called to be stronger and bolder than ever in acknowledging the real presence of Jesus in the Host. The question is – DO YOU BELIEVE? Do you REALLY believe, and if so how can you help others who either have lost that perspective of faith OR are wavering in their belief of the true presence of Jesus. YOU and I are called to witness AND proclaim the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We are called to not only proclaim it – but to live it. It is not a symbol or remembrance – it is our Risen Lord coming to us as a continuation of His command at the last supper and his promise of “I will be with you always”.
Eucharist is the “Real Deal” – and those that are missing out – help them through your prayer, example and conversation. There are many in the world who need that prayer support.
Closing Prayer: Lord, help me to receive you more reverently each time I attend Mass and worship you more ardently in Adoration. Today by your grace I will make a Eucharistic visit, receive the Eucharist at Mass, or make a spiritual communion with a heart full of gratitude.
Action for the Day: Watch this 2 minute video for today. Think about how Jesus continues to remind us of His true presence in the Eucharist. He continues to show us that he really is with us and we are called to respond accordingly. The video tells of a recent miracle about the Host. Watch, contemplate, pray and then BELIEVE like never before. AMEN!