Feeding the Five Thousand

John 6: 1-15 Acts 5: 34-42
Ps 27: 1, 4, 13-14

Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.
(John 6:12)

God has provided all we need,
So be not anxious, rejoice instead;
On His Word do we daily feed,
And in the Eucharist’s Living Bread.

Jesus had crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, but a great crowd of people kept following Him because of the miraculous healings he had performed. He went up on a mountainside and sat down with His disciples. Looking up, He saw a great crowd coming toward Him, and said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do. Philip answered, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” A little boy had five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far would that go? Then Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When everyone had eaten, He said to His disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five loaves left over. When the people saw the miracle that Jesus did, He knew that they intended to make Him king by force, so He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.


Like Philip, we are often so overwhelmed by the size of a problem before us that we tend to overlook the simplicity of the solution that is at hand. As one of the closest disciples of Jesus, Philip had surely witnessed the miraculous healings of the sick, and the changing of water into wine in the wedding at Cana. In the company of their “Wonder Worker”, the answer had to come from the faith of a little child, who offered his meager meal of five loaves and two fish. In the child’s innocence, the magnitude of the need did not matter, but only the little that he could offer. And the Master did the rest. Every now and then, we encounter grave problems or trials that test our faith, and we ask, ‘Where can we find the amount we need to pay this bill?’ Or ‘How can we find a solution to such a problem?’ When all along the only thing needed was to turn to our Savior Who is always there in our prayers and supplications.

The Responsorial Psalm in today’s liturgy expresses what every faith-full follower of Christ should feel: “I believe I shall enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord.” (Psa. 27:13-14) With faith in God’s providence, there is no cause to be anxious or impatient. God will give us what we need, and even in excess, if only to show us that our temporal needs are nothing compared to His great generosity. As Jesus assured us, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you” (Mt. 6:33). Then, in the final days, our Lord will give that same instruction to His angels: “Gather all the fragments so that nothing will be wasted.” Only the faithless chaff will be left to be thrown into the fire. The faithful will be one in the banquet of the Lord.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid? May I dwell in Your house all the days of my life. Amen.

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