Don Pasquale Giordano – Commentary on the Gospel of June 19, 2022 –

Comment by don Pasquale Giordano
Font – Mater Ecclesiae Bernalda
Mater Ecclesiae Parish was founded on July 2, 1968 by Archbishop Mons. Giacomo Palombella, died in Acquaviva delle Fonti, his hometown, in January 1977, now resigned to exceed the age limits … [Continua sul sito]

Lectio divina

The context in which the narrative of the multiplication of the loaves is inserted refers to the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. The head. 9 opens with the missionary sending of the Twelve who are given strength and power over all demons and to cure diseases. They went from village to village preaching the gospel and healing. The mission entrusted to them has the precise task of making known the fact that God has come near and that his kingdom is under way.

jo vv. 7-9 are an interlude in which Herod, hearing the facts, questions the identity of Jesus and wants to see him moved by curiosity rather than by the desire to hear and know him.

On their return, the apostles gather to account for their activity, and Jesus gathers them to retire with them to a quiet place. The Master summons the Twelve before sending them on a mission and gathers them for some sort of verification. Jesus remains the center. The Twelve brought Jesus to the people scattered through the villages with their words and gestures. We now see the results of evangelization. People follow Jesus along with the Twelve. In front of that crowd of followers, Jesus is welcoming giving the word of the gospel and healing the sick. In all this the apostles seem to be attentive because the scene is totally taken by Jesus, perhaps they feel a little diminished in their function considering that, in obedience to the mandate entrusted to them, they had a first missionary experience. . In reality, the apostles have yet to understand that they are not mere officials and that the mission of Jesus, shared with the Twelve, cannot be reduced to praxis. The most important thing is to establish personal relationships and not just meet the needs. Jesus wants to give a family-style lesson especially to the Twelve. The opportunity is given by the request they make to him.

At the end of the day, the Twelve point out to Jesus that the time has come to say goodbye to the people and give them the opportunity to seek refuge and food. The apostles denounce a need and offer a solution. These people need food. In Jesus’ opinion, people should not go anywhere else to look for food even if it is in a deserted area: “Feed them.” The apostles are in charge of food. The Twelve, who had been overshadowed during Jesus’ teaching and therapeutic activity, are now called upon to take direct responsibility. They, who have been so sensitive to grasping the need of the people, are invited to respond in the first person. In the eyes of the Twelve, Jesus must have appeared a little detached from reality, first because he does not realize that such a large crowd needs time to organize and find food, and then the hunger of five thousand men is unequal to the its strength. They could only count on the few resources available, which together make only five loaves and two fish. Even more unrealistic is the hypothesis that the apostles could go and buy food out of their own pockets for all those people. The five loaves and two fish available to the Twelve are what is left of their mission in the villages where they evangelized and healed. They had run out of bread and money to be educated in trusting God and trusting in his providence. That food they have in their hands becomes a reminder of the welcome given to them by the poor who went as poor. The poor opened the house to welcome them and dismissed them by giving them what they needed for the journey. The apostles, proclaiming the gospel and healing the sick, transmit “strength and power over all demons and to cure diseases” that Jesus had given them (cf. Lk 9: 1). In his ministry they not only gave but also received God’s providence, of which the five loaves and the two fish are a poor sign. God comes to us with His love by sharing what little we have, the bread we need for daily sustenance.

So what does it mean to “feed them yourself”? Jesus explains this by giving precise instructions to the Twelve. First, they should organize this group of people into smaller groups of about fifty. The first task for the disciples is to create small groups where they finally pass the crowd from anonymity to the familiarity of a community. What seemed impossible is coming true. In fact, the disciples manage to feed the people. But there is a previous step that should not be missed because it is the condition for the mission to end. Central seems to be the action of Jesus contained in the five verbs to take, to lift, to bless, to break, and to give. Jesus receives the five loaves and the two fishes from the hands of the disciples. To take is not synonymous with grabbing or tearing but with receiving what the disciples offer him. The five loaves and the two fishes are all that the disciples have. The offering of the Twelve at the hands of Jesus is not symbolic but real and total. They deliver everything they have to eat, everything they have to live on. The gesture of offering, intuitively, is an act of faith, the gift of life to Jesus. style. of the gift. It is secret almsgiving, that is, without ostentation, ostentation, vainglory. The gesture of raising one’s eyes to heaven indicates contact with God in prayer. Jesus does not take this food for himself, but welcomes it to make an offering to God, reciting the blessing of the loaves, recognizing that this food comes from God’s providence before it comes from the hands of the disciples. to the disciples it is a gesture with a familiar flavor. The disciples return to the scene with the task of distributing to the crowd what they receive from Jesus.

The Twelve represent the whole Church, a community gathered around Jesus, the place chosen by him to retire together with the apostles is a place to live a home where to find rest and refreshment. In the light of the Passover, the apostles understood that Jesus’ gesture on the shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee had prophetic significance. The same verbs, in fact, are repeated again in the account of the Last Supper where Jesus, when he breaks the bread, adds the words that reveal its priestly meaning. Bread taken, blessed, broken, and given are the prophetic sign of his death on the cross. He gives his life (broken bread) and offers his death (wine, the sign of bloody martyrdom) to reconcile us to God and to make us the Church, the community in which we breathe the air of home. and in which we live. as brothers.

Jesus’ ministry is closely linked to the filial relationship with the Father and the fraternal relationship with us. The resulting teaching reveals the sense of identity and mission of the apostles. Through Jesus, the priest and mediator between God and men, we have access to family intimacy with the Father. It welcomes, nourishes the spirit with the Word and cares for the body by curing diseases. In this way he teaches that the grace of God promotes man in all its dimensions, spiritual, psychic, and bodily.

Eucharist: reception with Mercy, gathered in Charity, given to the world by Justice

At the feast of Corpus Christi we read the account of Luke, which tells of the miraculous gesture with which Jesus feeds the crowd with the five loaves and two fish offered by the apostles. A banquet is being prepared in a deserted area where all who follow Jesus are invited to participate. The Twelve Apostles, who had previously been sent on a mission, are now called to be servants of this meal of coexistence. They are not simply asked to provide food but to be protagonists along with Jesus in the dynamism of brotherly love activated by the power of the Holy Spirit. His inspiration suggests life choices that make us bread for others, in order to remember that only by living for others can we also live in peace among others.

Jesus, sent by the Father and first missionary, welcomes and gathers. The Twelve, sent among the people to evangelize and welcomed by Jesus to find rest, must always combine the honor of serving God with the awareness that they are still part of the crowd that needs to be evangelized and healed. The missionary style of Christ and the Christian is characterized above all by acceptance, that is, by finding people before their needs. Faith grows in the hand of adherence to God’s will and belonging to the community in which we live as servants. Jesus replaces the economy of comfort with that of giving and sharing.

Five loaves and two fish is not only all we have but also all we are. We are little compared to the needs of the world; however, if we give with confidence everything we are in the end we find ourselves enriched with everything. What you receive is much more than what you have. For giving five loaves and two fishes, little compared to the famine of the people and of the disciples themselves but all that they had, they receive much more than they were deprived of. Five loaves and two fish, is what is needed for daily life, like the manna that was collected in the desert in sufficient measure for one day. Five loaves and two fishes, a sign of God’s providence, which should not be piled up, but should be offered with gratitude and to be shared generously. Five loaves and two fish offered are the sign of the strength and power of the gospel that heals from selfishness and greed and converts the heart to trust in God’s providence, to hope that moves to charity fraternal. Five loaves and two fishes are alms given in the secret of the heart which, offered to God, becomes divine providence for the brethren.

With the celebration of the Eucharist we announce to ourselves and to the world the Passover of Jesus, our hope. In the Eucharist we are a people of priests who offer spiritual worship by putting their lives in the hands of God. We join the sacrifice of Christ on the cross who said, “Father in your hands I entrust my life.” The priesthood is not a function but a lifestyle in which the proclamation of the gospel and the care of the brethren arise from prayer. In the Eucharist, the maximum form of prayer, we let ourselves be welcomed and gathered by Jesus, we open our hearts to tell him life experiences and present to him the needs of the world, we establish a dialogue made of (pro) vocation. and answer, let us get involved in the dynamism of love. The Word of Jesus, though difficult to chew and understand, is like broken bread to eat in small bites. The gospel can be lived day by day in everyday life. Breaking the bread means putting a small dose of goodness into everything we do.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for welcoming us into the domestic intimacy of the Church and meeting us in the bond of fraternal charity. When you receive us kindly, let us taste the beauty of cordiality and friendship so that we do not feel like mere users of services and consumers of spiritual goods. Teach us to go out to meet the brothers not with the anguish of the performance but with the serenity of those who know that they are the healthy bearer of the joy that comes from you. You who are the only Priest, the bridge between us and God, help us to be ministers of the Eucharist and invite us to celebrate it by uniting our life to yours. Accept from our lips the profession of faith and supplicate it as you have accepted the plea of ​​the good thief; it makes our prayer, born of a contrite and humbled heart, a sacrifice welcomed into the Father. Renew the miracle of the bread in each Eucharist so that we, blessed because we have responded to your invitation and followed you, may understand that there is no justice without compassion and that there is no more joy than working together so that everyone can eat. be satisfied.

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