“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”~Mother Teresa
Gospel text (Jn 6,1-15): Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee .
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
Today, we read in the Gospel the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves: «Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted» (Jn 6:11). The utter devastation of the Apostles facing so many hungry people makes us think of today's crowds, not on hunger, but much worse: far away from God, with a “spiritual anorexia”, preventing any participation in Easter and the possibility to meet Jesus. We do not know how to reach so many people... In today's reading, a message of hope is fluttering: lack of means does not matter; supernatural resources do; let us not be “realistic”, but “full of trust” in God. Thus, when Jesus asks Philip where could they buy some bread for all those people «He said this to test Philip, for He himself knew what He was going to do» (Jn 6:5-6). The Lord expects us to trust Him.
When looking at these “signs of the times”, we are not expecting passivity (laziness, languor for lack of fighting...), but hope: to make a miracle, the Lord wants the Apostles courage and dedication and the generosity of the boy who is willing to give some barley loaves and the two fish. Jesus also multiplies our faith, obedience and boldness, even though we cannot see right away the fruit of our efforts, just as the farmer cannot see the stalk already appearing after sowing. «Faith, without, however, allowing discouragement to overcome us; without being halted by merely human calculations. To surmount any obstacles, we must start by working, fully forcing our way into the task, so that our very effort brings us to open up new paths» (St. Josemaria Escriva), that will pop up unexpectedly.
Let us not wait for the right moment to place whatever we have at our disposal: but as soon as possible!, for Jesus is awaiting us to perform the miracle. «The troubles the world scene presents at the beginning of the new millennium lead us to think that only an intercession from above may allow us to expect a less darker future», John Paul II wrote. Let us, therefore, turn to the Virgin Mary with the Rosary, for her mediation has always been felt in so many frail moments Mankind has gone throughout history.