Liturgical Colour : Green
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the story of the feeding of the multitudes by Jesus is the often repeated and heard story in our faith life. We always heard how Jesus out of His great pity and love for His people, fed them with bread and fish that He multiplied with His power. He did not want them to be hungry and physically affected after having followed Him for so long to listen to His words.
This story is something that we often know and remember, but we fail to realise the true significance and importance behind this story. This historical memorial of Jesus and His wonderful miracles often lull us on His greatness and wonders, but we fail to know that we are in truly the same position as those people that day who were seated on the open fields with Jesus, hungry and weak.
And Jesus took pity on us, because He loves us very dearly. It is not just to those whom Jesus had ministered to and performed miracles on, that He gave them His love, but even all of us this day also receive the fullness of His bountiful love and grace. And His disciples whom He asked to minister to the people, have their successors in our world today, and they are our priests and bishops who continue to minister to us in the Name of the Lord.
Today, in the second reading, in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, St. Paul spoke of how nothing can ever separate mankind from God and His love, and no power be it on earth, in heaven or hell is capable of such a feat. Yes, that is except God Himself. He loves us very much and very dearly, and yet we are the ones who continue to elude Him, and continue to reject and spurn His love, preferring the love of Satan and the things of this world to His love.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is merciful and loving, but He also hates sin and disobedience of sin to the very core. Sin has no place in His presence and sinners has no place either in His place. That is why, while He gives us many, many opportunities, again and again to repent and change our ways, there is a limit to what He can allow us. Eventually, if we continue to reject Him, and our time is due, we will be sundered forever from His mercy and love, and as a result, we will be condemned for eternity.
In the first reading today, from the prophet Isaiah, we heard how generous God is, and how we have no need to fear at all when we are dealing with God. He knows everything we need, and He will provide for us all of them. Yet, mankind had no faith in Him and did not trust in Him, and rather trusting in their own strength and intellect which failed them.
God knows our needs, and as those people lay hungry in the field, their biological needs dictates that they have the physical need to be satisfied, or otherwise, the spiritual needs will not be optimally addressed. Yes, I refer to how men and women, that is all of us, will find it hard to listen and adhere to the word of God if our stomachs are growling within us, and the pain of hunger gets the better part of our minds.
That is why Jesus fed the people with the bread, and through His own might He turned those bread into a feast for all the faithful. He fed them until satisfied with the physical bread, that they may witness and see for themselves, what He had fed them in the spiritual food of the Word of God. Jesus who is the Son of God is the Word of God made flesh, incarnate into a human being. Thus, every word that Jesus said is truly indeed the Word of God, which is our spiritual food. Remember what Jesus said when He rebuked Satan of asking Him to turn stones into bread.
In the same way, therefore, the Lord will provide for us, and in no better form than the perfect and the best of all foods. He gave nothing else other than His own Body and His own Blood. Yes, this is the Most Holy Eucharist, the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord, which we receive every time we celebrate the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.
Through this bread and through the wine we drink, we receive into ourselves not just physical food, but also spiritual food, for we take in the Lord Himself into us, the Word who had become flesh, and then offered that flesh to us, that we who partake them may become one with Him and be saved. The Lord shows us His love by the giving of Himself, which He made concrete through His sacrifice on the cross, out of love for all of us sinners and desiring nothing else than our redemption.
Let us all today use this opportunity to ponder and realise how great is the love that God has for us, and how many opportunities we have been given, that we may appreciate how fortunate we are of having such a loving God to care for us. We should not think of the feeding of the five thousand multitudes as something separate from us, but instead, find in it the love which God shows to men, and therefore come to a greater realisation of our part in God’s plan for salvation.
We all should revere our Lord more in the Eucharist, and come to the point where we come to the Holy Mass, fully prepared and expecting to receive the Lord with fully prepared body, mind, heart and soul. Let us follow the example of those five thousand men and many other women and children with them, who came all the way just to follow Jesus and listen to Him intently. We too should also make the same effort to be closer to our God and follow Him.
May we all come ever closer to God through His most Precious Body and Blood, which we receive in the Holy Eucharist, that He may dwell in us, and we dwell in Him. May Almighty God guide us on this journey of life, providing us as always with His grace and love along the way. And may we persevere in our own journey as well, helping each other to reach our ultimate goal in life, that is God. Amen.