The Gospel Today
Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
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.
Reflection (Sem. Ramon Jamora, Jr.):
I wish to impart how I understand and try to live the Eucharistic spirituality taken from a verse in today’s Gospel. The simple action of Jesus of taking the bread, giving thanks, and distributing it to the people is where the spirituality came from.
This spirituality can generally be applied to any vocation: single blessedness or religious, married, and priestly life. But I wish to put forward the priestly life.
The taking action is seen even before priesthood – the seminary formation. Seminarians are taken away from their families, relatives, work, or even loved ones. There is a certain level of sacrifice and letting go on both the seminarian and those whom he will leave behind. This area of a seminarian’s life is life changing. He may either continue formation or decide to go back to his family and work. But the call to the priesthood does not end in the first action of being taken away. This is only the beginning.
Giving thanks would be the next action. In the seminary, the seminarian has a lot of prayer time. He is given the chance to commune with God more often than when he was working or just with his family. The opportunity to give thanks comes when there is a reality of being emptied from material things, wealth, and even issues such as control. In seminary, seminarians are humbled because they are slowly being stripped off of their old self. The thanking is more of being blessed and allowing God’s goodness to flow in one’s life.
The distributing action comes when seminarians are sent to their apostolate areas. Pastoral formation is being developed through the encounters made by seminarians with the poor, sick, dying, imprisoned, and parish workers and volunteers. In the early stage of formation, the seminarian is being molded to be for others and not only for a few or for himself.
If we try to dig more about the spirituality of the Eucharist, we must realize that in serving God, He is the first one who made the move. When He took us, He chose us. When He gave thanks to the Father for us, he blessed us. And when He gave us away, He wanted us to represent Him to the people.
We are called not only for ourselves but also for others, most especially for God. I believe that this spirituality can help you decide and discern to where God is calling you and wanted you to serve Him. I personally invite you that when you feel that there is a certain whisper that leads to a certain vocation, try to imbibe this spirituality. One thing is certain to me that our vocation is God’s call to all of us.