We have heard in today’s Gospel how Jesus fed the 5000 men (not to mention all the women and children) from just 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish with 12 baskets of bread left over. The Gospel says, “they all ate as much as they wanted” with “scraps remaining, twelve baskets full.” God’s love provides an overabundance. In our time there have been many reported cases where food has miraculously multiplied. Perhaps the most popular case occurred in the 1970’s in El Passo, Mexico. Some of the people in El Passo live on a rubbish dump. Their only food is what they can find in the rubbish.
A Fr Rick Thomas invited people from the parish to provide a Christmas dinner for these poor people. Food was prepared for 200 people but about 500 arrived expecting Christmas dinner. Yet, as the food was distributed it multiplied. Meat was carved and other food handed out so that all 500 people received more than enough food, and plenty was left over. The food had multiplied by about 10 times as much. Both these miracles, the miracle in the Gospel and the miracle at El Passo reveal the love or generosity or concern God has for us, His children. He is concerned when we are hungry or in want and He provides in over abundance.
In the Gospel the people were given 12 baskets of food left over. At El Passo the leftover food fed 5 orphanages. Our Lord provides for our every need (see Mt 6:21 24-34). Jesus said: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat and what you will drink…look at the birds in the air, they neither sow nor reap and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.” Our Lord’s generosity goes even beyond that.
In the miracle of El Passo and in the Gospel, Our Lord multiplied food to satisfy physical hunger. In this Mass today Our Lord will multiple the New Bread – the Eucharist – Himself to satisfy spiritual hunger. The very next day Jesus said to the crowds (Jn 6:35): “I Am the bread of life whoever comes to Me will never be hungry. And (in verse 51): “Whoever eats of this bread will live forever.”Our Lord is not satisfied to feed us physically, He loves us infinitely, therefore he gives us bread which is Himself.
In the Eucharist Jesus gives us all He is and all He has in order to satisfy perfectly all our desires. Hence, Jesus says (Jn 6:51b): “The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My Flesh.”Father Rick Thomas said Mass often at the rubbish dump in El Passo (because of that miracle of multiplication). On one occasion – a nun – Sr BriegeMcKenna was present. She tells the story of a young child who had fallen into a fire at the rubbish dump. The child was so badly burnt that Sr Briege didn’t know whether the child was a boy or girl. As Mass was about to start Fr Rick placed the child under the altar. After Mass the child was completely healed. All his skin had grown back. Therefore, the Eucharist not only gives spiritual healing but also ‘physical’ healing.
There have been people who have lived on Holy Communion. Therefore, Holy Communion has sustained people both spiritually and physically. Due to a medical condition these people have not been able to digest food or liquid but mysteriously have been able to digest the Eucharist, e.g. Luisa Piccarreta, Italian, died in 1947 after living solely on the Eucharist for 64 years. Teresa Neuman, German, died in 1961 after 42 years living solely on the Eucharist.
In the prayer, the Our Father, Jesus prayed to His Father: “Give us this day our daily bread,” the Church Fathers explain that the word ‘bread’ meant, in particular, spiritual bread – the Eucharist. In other words, Jesus prayed for everyone to receive Him in Holy Communion every day. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Let us pray for that day! Our Lord nourishes us abundantly with food to satisfy our physical hunger.
Our Lord nourishes us abundantly with the Eucharist to satisfy our spiritual hunger and He also nourishes us abundantly with the Holy Spirit If Our Lord would appear to you now and you could see Him, Face to face, you would think that in His mind, you were the only thing in existence, that – to Him – nothing else exists, but you. Somehow, Our Lord does that for every single person. It would also appear that, for Our Lord, His only purpose, Our Lord’s only reason for existence is for you.
That is also true. Somehow Our Lord does that for every single person. It would also appear that there is no limit to what Our Lord wants to achieve in you. There can’t be any limit to infinite love. In other words, He wants to fill us with everything there is Himself, the Holy Spirit. He wants us to be like Our Blessed Mother, full of the Holy Spirit. Of all that God has created, Our Mother is the greatest. When we are like our Mother, then God’s plan for us is accomplished.