The multiplication of the loaves and fish in today’s gospel is a central part of Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life. When Jesus asks Philip how the people will be fed, Philip simply refers to the amount of money required. Jesus teases Philip and the others to have bigger dreams and better hopes than at first seem possible. What human reason does not dare to hope becomes a reality with Jesus, thanks to a young boy’s generous heart. Jesus takes the boy’s offering of five barley loaves and two fish—the food of the poor—and transforms it into food for all.
Jesus asks that even such meager provisions, together with the trust and the generosity of disciples, be stretched to their limits. Logic and human reason often say to us, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish.” In today’s gospel story, we realize once again that it will never be enough until we start to give it away.
The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish must continue through us. May our eucharistic celebrations stir up within us a passion to reach out to the poor, the hungry, and the wounded; to reach out to the lost and bring them home. May they nourish in us a hunger and thirst for justice. Let us pray that we may truly become what we receive in the eucharistic meal.