In this year of the Eucharist, so much has been, and will be, said about the great Mystery of the Eucharist. I offer a short reflection on the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. I trust that this will be some nourishment to our Faith. It would help to read for yourselves Mark 6:34-44, and reflect and pray on it.

In this gospel, Jesus shows great care for the people. He cares for their minds because as he stepped ashore he taught them at length. He also cares for their bodies by miraculously feeding them. While the Apostles were telling Jesus to send the people away so that they could go to a place nearby to buy themselves something to eat, Jesus thinks very differently. There is no question of letting them find food. Instead, Jesus indicated to His Apostles, "We will look for food for them". Then, from the five loaves and two fish he feeds five thousand people.

Jesus Gives himself as Food
This feeding of so many is quite amazing, yet what is much more amazing is the fact that Jesus will give Himself as our food.
Carlo Caretto ( a hermit and well known spiritual writer) reflected on this miracle and said that it should not surprise us that someone like Jesus who loves us so much would give Himself to us as bread. People who love one another do similar things. In giving themselves to one another in a relationship they truly nourish each other. The deeper the relationship and the more total the giving the more they nourish each other. Jesus' gift of Himself to us in the Eucharist is total. There only by the power of the Holy Spirit. has never been such a gift before, nor will there be another like it.

Our Hands and Voice
In this particular miracle, Jesus asked His apostles to do what they could and find a few loaves and fish. He then used that small amount of food to feed the people.
In the Eucharist, the priest is the hands and the voice of Christ. The consecration by the priest is so powerful. Jesus works through the priest to give us the total gift of Himself. Each of us also shares in the priesthood of Jesus through our Baptism and Confirmation. After we have celebrated the Eucharist together with the priest in Church, we go forth to be Jesus' hands, voice and heart to others. He is with us to change and transform the world. He uses our gifts and our person to do this. In other words, He uses what we have to influence people and our world.

They ate as much as they wanted
The amount of food people eat generally depends on their appetite. People with small appetites don't eat much. Those with bigger appetites eat more.
The Eucharist is like this as well. Some days for whatever reason, whether it be tiredness or other factors, we are just there. We race off to Mass and somehow attend. Other days we are more ready and better prepared. On these days we eat more. In fact the more we want and desire Jesus, the more Jesus is for us.

Twelve Baskets Full
This speaks top us of the abundant and lavish love of God. With God, there is always plenty. It is the same in the Eucharist. Jesus has told us that "as the Father has loved him, so He has loved us'. And how has He loved us? Jesus' love of us is perfect, limitless and unending. In the Eucharist, Jesus' love for us is perfect, without limit and it leads to eternal life.
In this year of the Eucharist, we desire to value much more this great gift of Jesus. The gospel shows us how the Word of God is very powerful to help us to do this.

Justin Bianchini
Bishop of Geraldton