The Gospel Today
Tuesday after Epiphany
When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.
Reflection (Sem. Julius de Gracia):
Nothing can satisfy the deepest longing and desire of the heart – except God alone. Do you believe on this? Of all the miracles Jesus did, the multiplication of loaves and fishes is the only one which is repeated in all the four Gospels. A great crowd of people had gathered to hear Jesus because they were hungry for God’s word. Jesus’ disciples had wanted to send the crowd away at the end of the day because they did not have the resources to feed them. They even complained how much money it would take to feed such a large crowd – at least six month’s wages!
The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and His great kindness towards us. In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. When God gives – he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for so that we may have something to share with others as well, especially for those who have really nothing.
The initial reaction of Jesus was significant for our reflection this day. The verse 34 of this passage says; “When Jesus saw the crowds he was moved with pity – for they are like sheep without a shepherd” thus the miracle happened because Jesus willed it, the “moved with pity” is a powerful emotion in Jesus that touches his very person and identity – He is a God who do not just lead but lives with His people. When I say living with His people what I mean is that our deepest emotions, struggles and pains though so personal is known to God. That by just a mere stare, look and glance Jesus knew what you need. It’s good to ask and remind ourselves that what if Jesus looks at us today or this very moment what would He see in us? What would Jesus feel? Is our lives, our thinking and doing emit a powerful emotion in Jesus such is “pity, mercy and compassion?” or the other way around? I’m sure brothers and sisters, it’s still the same when Jesus looks at us today He will still “be moved with pity” no matter how sinful we are Jesus is ready to utter the words of forgiveness to us, as long as we wanted to repent and convert our lives to Him. As long as we breathe there is still a chance and an opportunity to renew and amend our ways in order to conform to the life that Jesus wanted for us, a life of holiness with Him.
God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others. Do you trust in God’s provision for your life and do you freely share what you have with others, especially those who lack what they need? Jesus needs our cooperation in order to make miracles to happen. – The 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes of a child did make and do a great difference. Yes of course Jesus can manage to feed the vast crowd even without the child’s provisions. But what I would like to emphasize here is the lesson and a reminder that when we wanted and long for a miracle in our lives human capacity and cooperation is a factor for its realization.
Do we want forgiveness? Due to sin and guilt we are ashamed to step into the confessional for perhaps we have done the same sins and mistakes again, but what God needs is only a spark of courage from us so that it will pave the way to forgiveness. God needs as well our cooperation in order for us to merit the many graces and blessings that awaits us in His treasury of gifts and merits.
When we go and approach Jesus he will surely be moved with pity and that even the meager and little that we have will be multiplied into incalculability because when God gives it is overflowing.