When you have nothing of your own, it is easier to see how God provides you with something. This was the experience of a young man who lost his hoodie and was sleeping outside on a cold evening, because he was announcing the gospel, and the older man who was with him gave him a clean plastic bag. For the young man it was as if Christ himself did him this favor; it transformed him. Perhaps more our problem is that we seem to have everything, and therefore we don’t see the value of anything.
I was struck this week by the fact that the Eucharist is a sign of God’s mercy. I never thought of it in that way. Christ went to pray because of the news of the death of his cousin John the Baptist. That connection with his Father helped him to see the needs of others. His ‘insides turned over’ is the meaning of the original Greek word. Christ would not let the apostles just send these thousands of people home. He cured many and fed perhaps 12,000 with five loaves and two fish. How important this preaching was for the early Church that it is recorded in every gospel. It is easy to see why. It shows Christ’s compassion and introduces the reality of the Eucharist as a work of mercy for all mankind!!
A scientist at NASA did an experiment with a special camera that recorded the energy level in the body and it showed up as an aura around the person. They did this to measure the effects of space on the body. In the hospital they noticed that the aura of a dying person became thinner and thinner. At one point someone walked into the room and a bright light came from his pocket and it filled the whole room with a light that the scientist could no longer see. He rushed into the room to see what happened and realized that a man had given the dying person the Eucharist and this energy caused this intense light. This scientist shortly thereafter entered the seminary and became a priest due to this experience.
Yes, the Eucharist has energy and power to transform us, to feed us, to cure our anxiety or loneliness. This scientist found a way to capture this, and it changed his life. Come to the water, Isaiah tells us, all you who thirst for life and meaning, come; it is free and I will give you as much as you want. The gospel shows us that there is a perfect supply of loaves and fish. Everyone is totally satisfied. The solution to the problem of feeding so many comes from the midst of them. Due to one person’s gift God creates a community and feeds them. Abundance is only found in God. He only asks people to recline and to be open. He does everything else.
He took the bread and looked up to his Father, blessed it and broke it, as he will be broken in his passion for the salvation of all. The bread has to be broken for the multiplication to happen as we have to be broken so that this goodness can spread to others. The miracle is very understated. The bread and the fish multiply in the hands of the disciples as it is given out. They don’t run back and forth to Jesus to get more. Somehow they are needed, as we are, to do this miracle of mercy. God always prefers to act through men and it is through prayer that he, and us, see the needs of others.