The Holy Gospel according to John (6:1-15)
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.
Reflection: This miracle of the multiplication of the fish and loaves is the only miracle that appears in all four Gospels, which means it is an exceptional event with meaning that goes much deeper than the extraordinary feeding of the thousands. All of the Gospel accounts are very similar. John’s Gospel is the only one who adds this detail of the boy who had 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. Who was this boy? His identity is not important. What is important is what he did. This boy was just one of the thousands and probably lost in the crowd. He was carrying his basket with bread and fish, probably his lunch. But when he heard the that there was not enough food to feed everybody, he made his way through the crowd. This probably drew Andrew’s attention. The boy then shared his lunch and Jesus used that to feed the people. In this miracle, Jesus uses the same words we later find in the institution of the Eucharist. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks and gave the bread to the people inviting them to take as much as they needed. As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I believe this is what the boy did. He did a small thing with great love. Because he shared his lunch, many were fed. We are also called to share what we have with great love, and our Lord will use it for the good of others.
Action for the day: We know that our Lord is generous beyond our imagination. Our Lord continues to spiritually feed us with his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Eucharist. God also expects us to come to the aid of one another, and to share what little we have. May we pray for the courage we need to risk giving even the little that we have to help others in need.