As I reflected on this Gospel, I thought of this question,
which I'll share with you for your reflection:
Why does this miracle, of all the miracles described in the Gospels, so lift our hearts?
It certainly captured the imagination of the early church,
because this is one of the few miracles of the Lord described in all four Gospels,
and always in great detail.
My first thought was that we can identify with this more than other miracles:
unless we've been desperately sick, we may not identify with a healing;
but everyone has felt the pangs of hunger, and had the joy of someone providing food.
In this miracle, we see our God reaching down and providing food for us.
This miracle is not the Eucharist, but it points to it.
Did you notice the twelve baskets? Twelve apostles!
This shows the Lord teaching and preparing the Apostles;
it's as if he is saying, "You will be the ones who will provide my people with the Eucharist."
Remember, the Lord Jesus did not provide the Eucharist
to anyone but the Apostles, on the night before he died.
They would celebrate the Eucharist and provide his Body and Blood to God's People.
We think of the Eucharist as something we take;
but it's actually the other way around: it is the Eucharist that takes us.
Jesus the Eucharist calls to us; not everyone hears that call, not everyone answers it;
but you have heard it--that's why you are here.
He seeks us, to take us, and make us part of himself.
This is why the Church has its rules about the Eucharist:
> Fasting from all food for a full hour before receiving the Eucharist;
> Being in a state of grace--no mortal sins unconfessed;
> Being in full union with the Church as a member.
It's not about the rules for their own sake, but because Christ seeks to take us, entirely,
to himself; and the question is, are we ready to be taken and transformed?
I say these words, and they are a condemnation of myself!
I live in my own skin, and know my sins very well--how far I am from that.
So I confess my sins, and I rely on him to take me as I am,
and transform me into himself.
In a moment, bread and wine will go to the altar;
I invite you to place yourself with the bread and wine;
you will see me, but it will be Christ who takes the bread and wine,
and it will be his words, transforming them into his Body and Blood.
Allow him to take you and transform you!
He calls you; you felt it and you are here: Give him all of yourself.