Matthew 14: 13-21
When Jesus got the news of John the Baptist’s death, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully – someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.
Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.”
But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.”
“All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said.
Jesus said, “Bring them here.” Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.
This is the only miracle that is reported by all the four gospels, because the link to the Eucharist is obvious. The verbs used at the end of this miracle to describe what Jesus did with the bread are repeated at every mass. The Eucharist has the same characteristics of this miracle: the community, the transformation of humble elements into what satisfies us and is a sign of God’s abundant gifts. Yet the gift is immeasurably greater: it is the body and blood of Christ. I stand in awe of this great gift, and ask for the grace to be grateful and to enter more deeply into this great mystery.
This great miracle took place at the most unlikely moment: at the end of the day, when it was time to return home, when the disciples realised they had only five loaves and two fishes. Yet Jesus asked his disciples and his hearers to trust him, to “sit down” on the grass as if they were not in any hurry. Those who trusted got more than they needed. I look back on some moments when I too experienced God’s generosity in my life, and I ask to know how to “sit down” in trust in the moment of crisis.