When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.”
But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.”
They did so and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus and his disciples had a long day and the people just kept hanging around just like company when it’s past our bedtime. The disciples wanted time for themselves so they asked Jesus to dismiss the crowds because the crowds needed to find food and lodging for the night. Jesus had other intentions and told the disciples to serve food to the people. But they did not have enough, only five loaves of bread and two fish. So Jesus took the five loaves and two fish blessed them and there was enough to feed the whole crowd.
The disciples were feeling like us sometimes. They did not have enough to fulfill the needs so many people. But Jesus came to their aid. He blesses what they had and there was enough for everyone. The lesson is clear: we oftentimes do not have love, time and energy to meet the needs of all those who come into our lives but if we allow Jesus to bless our efforts, his love and power can reach into other’s lives and provide what we cannot.
On this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we are reminded that the bit of bread and the sip of wine we receive in the Eucharist is enough to satisfy the deepest hungers and thirst in our souls. In the Eucharist he comes to us as we are and provides the sustenance that that leads to the promise of eternal life.
—Fr. Douglas Leonhardt, S.J. is associate vice-president for Mission and Ministry at Marquette University where he is also pastoral minister for the College of Education and McCabe Residence Hall.
Godhead here in hiding, whom
I do adore. Masked by these bare
shadows, shape and nothing more.
See Lord at thy service low lies
here a heart. Lost all lost in wonder
at the God thou are.
–Adoro Te Devote, St. Thomas Aquinas