Had the boy refused to share the bread and the fish, then they would not have eaten that evening. The Gospel today is about the multiplication of the bread and fish of which Jesus and his disciples were able to feed about five thousand men. This scene is a beautifully described to us in the account of John the Evangelist when he narrated:
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, near Tiberias, and large crowds followed him, because of the miraculous signs they saw, when he healed the sick. So, he went up into the hills and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Then lifting up his eyes, Jesus saw the crowds that were coming to him, and said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread so that these people may eat?” He said this to test Philip, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred silver coins would not buy enough bread for each of them to have a piece.” Then one of Jesus’ disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there, so the people, about five thousand men, sat down. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish, and gave them as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten enough, he told his disciples, “Gather up the pieces left over, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with bread, that is, with pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. When the people saw the miracle which Jesus had performed, they said, “This is really the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Jesus realized that they would come and take him by force to make him king, so he fled to the hills by himself. —John 6: 1-15
In our everyday life, it is a fact that there are those who have most and who have less. Some of us are given big opportunities while others are tremendous limitations and deprivations.
People ask for more, and more. People need new perspectives and new directions in their lives. The cries of the people of Israel during the time of Jesus were of newness in life and in their way of living. The large crowds followed Jesus to listen to his teachings are mostly those who “have nots.” They are referred to as sheep without a shepherd.
In the Gospel, while Jesus was preaching and healing, and preparing for the feast of the Passover, Jesus saw that the people have not yet eaten. His concern was how to feed the crowd and he called Philip, one of his disciples. Philip retorted that it is impossible to procure the needed food since the number is so large, around five thousand men. And Philip found a boy with barely five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish.
Jesus asked them to sit and then he prayed and raised the bread and the fish. And there was plenty of bread that followed. The miracle of God’s goodness and providence once again have been experienced by the people. The miracle that everyone was fed and filled while the left over were still more. This is the miracle of sharing love, of concern, of care. Jesus’ concern for the people and the boy who was also willing to share his bread and fish. And the people followed to start sharing their goods and lives after they witnessed and received.
Every year, the Sunday after the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16) and the Prophet Elijah (July 20), the Carmelites in Manila and its neighboring provinces gather for the annual celebration of the Carmelite Family Day. The miracle of God’s family and goodness is being relived and celebrated by the Carmelites and who reflected this year on “Kindling the Carmelite Spirit in the Year of Faith at the Service of the Church.” The miracle of celebrating Carmelite life as one family in the Lord.
Eucharist, talk and refection, a program with games and presentations, and lunch shared by all highlig the event. Men and women, priests, the consecrated and lay, young and old, share the Bread of Life—Jesus as each one is committed to live out our Christian vocation in the Carmelite way. It is a multiplication of the bread of life in the hearts of every Carmelite.
But this invitation is not only for the Carmelites. All Christians are asked to listen to Jesus in the message of sharing love; and to share what we have. We share not only our food, but also our stories, our dreams and aspirations, our efforts and wishes, our very selves and our mission. We need to listen to God and do whatever He tells us what to do.
Let us ask ourselves the following;
Am I willing to share what I have and with those who “have nots”?
Am I open to share my talents, treasures and time with those who are in need?
Do I pray and lift my eyes to the heavens and surrender to God my everything?
Prayer: Lord our God, may we never go hungry and thirsty in this world as we take and enjoy the graces that we receive everyday. Help us to see you in the people who seek for truth and meanings. Help us to be always trustful and generous so that we will be able to share our lives and goods, great and small may be, with the people around us. This we ask though Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You, and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.