Today’s Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes teaches us about the Eucharist. John creates the setting by stating that the Feast of Passover is near—a clue that this meal foreshadows the Last Supper. Pragmatic Philip thinks in human terms: how many days’ wages would give the crowd just a morsel of food. Jesus thinks supernaturally: He will give the crowd eternal food that will always satisfy and never run out.
As He will later do at the Last Supper, Jesus gives thanks and performs the miracle. Yet, Our Lord doesn’t choose to do this all on His own; He engages the apostles, receiving the initial offering from them and then asking them to collect whatever remains. Similarly, during the Offertory at Mass, the priest gives thanks and offers to God simple bread and wine. Jesus the High Priest consecrates them into His Body and Blood, but it is through the hands and voice of the priest. After everyone has consumed the heavenly Food, the priest then collects the remaining Hosts, placing them in the tabernacle.
This Gospel is a story of scarcity. Philip says of the few loaves and fishes, “What good are these for so many?” Perhaps that is the way we see things too. What good is this fifteen spare minutes I have? What good are these couple of bucks? What good is this menial task of folding laundry?
It is also a Gospel of abundance. God transforms the scarcity into an overflowing, above-and-beyond abundance—twelve baskets worth! Just like the Eucharist is always more than enough to satisfy our souls.
Jesus wants nothing wasted, even what we think might be pointless scarcity. Do I waste my time? My money? My leftover food? My gifts and talents? My work, which can be sanctified?
Jesus is the One who performs miracles, but He wants us to be involved, too. What seemingly trivial scarcity can you give to Jesus today, for Him to make abundant?
Thank you, Jesus, for providing us with the abundant food that is the Eucharist. May my soul always hunger for You.