Our new Church year began with Advent eight or so months ago and since then we have been for the most part going through the Gospel of St Mark each Sunday. We will take a break from St Mark’s Gospel for the next five Sundays and we will journey through the very famous sixth chapter of St John’s Gospel. It’s an amazing expose on the Eucharist, which is of course, as the Catechism teaches us, “the source and summit of our faith.”
In our First Reading today we encounter the Prophet Elisha. There were many prophets in the Old Testament like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc., but few performed miracles like Moses, Elijah and Elisha. Elisha was a disciple of Elijah, and he asked God for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. His miracles were therefore very impressive indeed, even after his own death, when a dead man was placed beside Elisha’s body in a grave, and the dead man came back to life after making contact with Elisha’s body. In our reading today he performs a mighty miracle by multiplying twenty barley loaves and feeding one hundred men. In our Gospel Jesus will show that He is far greater than the mighty Elisha, and he will feed thousands with less barley loaves.
Jesus gets the people to sit down on the grass. This reminds us of the famous Psalm 23 where the Divine Shepherd “makes me lie down in green pastures,” to refresh my soul. Moses interceded for the people and Mana came down from Heaven. Jesus shows that he is the great prophet promised by Moses, as the people declare in our Gospel. There are also twelve hampers filled with gathered leftover scraps. This points to Jesus being the Messiah, the one who will “gather” the divided twelve tribes of Israel and unite them. The number twelve also points to the twelve Apostles and their successors who will continue to feed the people, but not thousands, but tens and tens of millions through the Mass.
The small boy mentioned in this Gospel is one of my favourite characters in the Gospels. He gives everything he has: 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. The LORD multiples what he gives and feeds thousands. This reminds us dear friends to keep praying, to keep making sacrifices, fasting, doing good deeds, thinking good thoughts, because the LORD will also multiply what we give and many others will benefit. We don’t realise the difference we can make to the world.
I saw a video yesterday of a very famous Hollywood actor who was severely depressed. His marriage had broken up, his career was going down the tubes, his children weren’t speaking to him, and when he was at rock bottom, he had a profound mystical experience of God which made him repent and change his life. He is happy now. He received this great grace probably because of what someone did for him, directly or indirectly, a prayer made, a sacrifice offered etc.
May we always be fortunate enough to receive the Eucharist. May we always be a source of good in the world through cooperating with the many graces we receive through the Eucharist. and….may we like the little boy in our Gospel be generous in our giving to God, so He can bring down many blessings upon others.
God bless you,