Sunday Reflections: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Is. 55:1-3; Rom. 8:35, 37-39; Mt. 14:13-21
The 1st reading from Isaiah opens with an invitation to eat and drink water, wine and milk, and all of it for free. This passage from the prophet Isaiah signals for us events in the New Testament that Jesus would do not only to feed our body but also to feed our souls. Our Gospel reading narrates how Jesus fed some five thousand men not counting the women and children, in itself a preview of the Holy Eucharist. But let us study the passage in itself.
We see that Jesus wanted to go away from the crowd so the apostles could be alone by themselves to rest a while. But the crowds by themselves went to the place where they were going and arrived there ahead of them. Here we see that the people wanted to hear the teachings of Jesus and wanted to be in his company. Do we have this desire to be with Jesus? Jesus showed his compassion by healing their sick. As evening was approaching, the disciples wanted to dismiss the people and buy food for themselves. But Jesus told them to provide for the people. “But we have only five loaves and two fish,” they retorted. What do we see? They were counting only on their human resources not on Jesus. This is usually our short sightedness and often we do not share our gifts because we see our resources as deficient. Have we ever learnt to tell ourselves that “God will provide”? Jesus told them: “Bring them to me.” Has it ever occurred to you that you were really short in resources and you prayed asking the Lord for help? “Lord, paki-dagdag para mag kasya.” This happened to me many times and the Lord always provided.
What follows is a preview of the Eucharist. “He took the loaves… he looked up to heaven and blessed and broke and gave the loaves to his disciples.” The actions are narrated at the Last Supper and in Mass at the consecration. After the Pentecost, the disciples looked back at the multiplication of the loaves as pre-figuration of the Last Supper. It is even more revealing as we follow the action of the Lord: “He gave the loaves to the disciples and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” As Jesus broke the loaves, they multiplied in his hands, and in turn as the disciples gave them out to the people, the loaves also multiplied in their hands. This makes us see that the miracle of transubstantiation happens now by the hands of the priests. Jesus did not personally distribute to the people, he made the disciples do it allowing the miracle to happen also in their hands, as it still happens today. Our Lady in Fatima and in Garabandal told the children to honor first the priest and only second the angel if they should come together, because only the priest can call Jesus to come down at the consecration. Isaiah began with the Lord inviting us to eat and drink for free, then the Gospel prefigures the Eucharist and today the Apostles continue giving out the loaves in the Eucharist.