To Be Gathered as One

John 6: 1-15
Acts 5:34-42 / Psa 27

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

The miracle of the loaves was when
Thousands on a mountainside were fed.
Miracles today still happen
When we receive God’s Living Bread.

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (the Sea of Tiberias). A great crowd of people followed Him because they saw the miraculous signs He had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with His disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward Him, He 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 Him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 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 they had all had enough to eat, He said to His disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing is wasted.” They gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself. (John 6:1-15)

Reflection

In their eagerness to follow Jesus, the multitude had neglected to bring provisions, except for a little boy who had five barley loaves and two fish. Nothing is too little for God to manifest His great love. Nor anything too much to be left uncollected. “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing is wasted.” Nothing will be wasted in God’s plan of salvation except those who choose not to be gathered with the Lord’s flock. We are all fragments with different functions and diverse persuasions, but all of us are important in the eyes of God.

Again the miracle of the multiplication of bread prefigured the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, where all of God’s children would be gathered to feed on the One True Bread of Christ. Nothing is wasted in this banquet, as the celebrant eats what is left over, if not returned to the tabernacle. As in the mountainside of Tiberias, all of the faithful are nourished by the Bread of Jesus and the Word of God in the Holy Mass.

It is disheartening at times when only a few people attend Mass to receive the Bread of Life. Let us make it a habit to receive our Lord as often as possible in our parish church or wherever the opportunity affords us. Whenever see the same few faces, we can’t help but wonder why people give the Lord so little of their time – only on a Sunday when there is no work or conflict of schedule. Since we started giving more of our time to the Lord, we noticed that we are no longer pressured for time in other matters. The Lord Who multiplies bread can certainly also multiply time.

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 in heaven.

Increase the fervor of Your people, Lord, to come together as regularly as they can to the banquet at Your table; may we all be gathered as one. Amen.

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