Dear People of St. Andrew the Apostle:
This week's gospel story in Matthew of the feeding of the 5000 can be found in all four of the gospels. In all four gospels, the story tells us much more than a story about simply multiplying food. They all point to the Eucharist!
Here we have Jesus, who has been teaching all day long, and the people are tired and hungry. Notice the disciple's solution to the hunger "...dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." Then Jesus says, "Give them some food yourselves." Wow! Think about this for a moment as if that were you Jesus was talking to. You are there with 5000 men, women and children and you say to Jesus send them away to Burger King or McDonald's, and He turns back to you and says to you to feed them yourself.
So what do the disciples do? They find a young boy who has five loaves and two fish. They somehow persuade this boy to give them up. Then, they go to Jesus with the fish and loaves. They must have thought that Jesus would say that this was not going to be enough. But what does Jesus do? He takes the loaves and fish, blesses them and gives a bit to all his disciples. Then, he says to them to turn around and feed the crowd. If you were one of those disciples, what would you do or think? If I was there, I might have felt a bit foolish. The disciples turn around and give the little they have and when they run out, they go back to Jesus, who is standing there with more bread. That is the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. You give out what you have. When you run out, you go back to Jesus, again and again. What is happening? They have entered the Kingdom of God! At the end of the story, it says that they had 12 baskets left over.
We could conclude from this story that, if the little we have is in the hands of Jesus, it is enough. What kind of gifts do we have that Jesus can use? It might not seem like much, but it is enough.
What do we do at Mass? We bring up little wafers of bread and a little thing of wine up the aisle and give them to the Priest (Jesus in persona Christi). On the altar, the priest says, "This is my body – This is my blood." At that moment, the bread and the wine are transubstantiated and become the very body and blood of Jesus Christ – which are now given back to us.
Blessed Mother Teresa is an example of the reality of this to us. She had nothing, but gave it all to God. She gave the little she had when picking up a man who was dying and saying to him, "Jesus, welcome to my home." Jesus calls us to give our gift of self to Christ and allow Him to use it. It is good to realize that in the Kingdom, it is not what we don't have, but rather it is what we do have that Jesus uses! With Jesus nothing is impossible.
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