Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus,
The readings of this 18th Sunday in ordinary time exhort us to long for God-Jesus who gives himself for us in the Eucharist as spiritual nourishment and ask us to share what we have with those who are in need. To be able to grasp the meaning this truth, we basically need to ask ourselves certain questions like the following:
Why do I go to Church? Do I long for Jesus?
If I long for Jesus, do I then see Jesus in those who are in need and care for them?
If I care for the needy, do I then share with them what I have? OR
Do I excuse myself saying I have only a little and what is it among so many who are in need?
As we know, it is not just Matthew but all the evangelists narrate this extraordinary fact of the multiplication of the loaves and fish that Jesus worked with his disciples and the crowds. This means that it really is an important event with essential meaning and therefore it must not be forgotten by successive generations of disciples – no wonder why all the evangelists record it in their respective gospels.
The gospel passage of today illustrates Jesus working a miracle in response to a concrete and real hunger that the people that follow him have. These men and women are also hungry for God as much as they are hungry for bread to eat. Jesus came to satisfy one’s hunger, to give answers to those who die of hunger – not just material hunger but more importantly spiritual one: hunger for love, peace, joy…
The first answer to this problem of bread to eat comes from the apostles who would like everyone to get by or to go and buy food for themselves. But Jesus totally changes the perspective and he goes from “buying” to “sharing”. In fact, Jesus tells the apostles: “You give them something to eat”.
“Sharing” solves the problem of hunger and the apostles become the model of a Christian community that does not stop sharing or does not close itself to the world of hunger, but puts itself at the service, convinced that it is possible to feed humanity, even if the means at times seems insufficient. Jesus sees the hunger of the people and at the same time teaches the apostles to take charge of the situation without fear and with deep hope.
Dear brethren, when we attend the (Sunday) Holy Mass, it is really important to ask ourselves: “Am I hungry for God? What does my life need? With what inner emptiness am I here today?” The realisation that we are hungry for God, for love, for fraternity, for peace … helps us to live the Eucharistic celebration with great meaning, true participation and fruitfulness. And it is important to recognize that those of my fellow Catholics next to me in the church also have come here with their hunger for something, with their emptiness, doubts and questions…
Jesus is there to feed me/us. He is there to teach me/us to take charge of the humanity’s hunger (a hunger for material goods) but even more for the meaning of life and God. Even if I say “I have too little” of anything (modest material means, little faith, few skills) “to share with others”, but all the same, let me not give in to fear or let me not get discouraged in any way. The miracle of multiplication and sharing can repeat itself even today, if only I trust Jesus and give him joyfully my “five loaves and two fish”. Jesus does expect from me a heart that loves, cares, shares. My little offering can make a huge difference in the lives of needy people.
To be able to this, we, all of us, need to take to heart what the prophet Isaiah says in today’s first reading. “Why do you spend your money [resources] for what is not bread and your labour for that which does not satisfy?” Let us incline our ear, and go to Jesus. Let us listen to him, so that we may learn to live, love, care and share in the Gospel way.
God bless us all!