In the gospel reading we hear today the disciples come to Jesus daunted by the crowd that has sought out Jesus. In a first instance, the disciples are simply daunted by the size of the crowd, and what will happen to all these people, now that “time has slipped by.” However, and in the second instance, the disciples are even more daunted by the prospect that they will have to care for the crowd. Jesus’ response to the disciples’ suggestion that he send the crowd away is that the disciples should “give them something to eat yourselves!” This is an obviously impossible task, given they have only five loaves and two fish: hardly enough to even feed themselves.
But what might seem meager offerings to the disciples, and an evidently impossible task, is not so when blessed by Jesus. Jesus asks the disciples to give him what they have; he takes their offering, raises the bread and fish to heaven in blessing, breaks the loaves, and returns them to the disciples, so that they might in their turn feed the crowd: what might seem impossible to us, is not impossible through Jesus Christ!
They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps remaining, twelve baskets full.
We can often come to mass at times distracted, and even burdened by the prospects of wh at each day of our life places before us, and the seeming impossibility of the tasks that come our way. But we come together in faith, even though daunted, and place ourselves as offering before God, through, with and in Jesus Christ. Each time we come together at mass we present what seems like such meagre offerings of bread and wine and ourselves. After the gifts of bread and wine are placed on the altar, and we acknowledge God’s blessedness in giving us the very gifts we in our turn offer, the priest prays:
Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
Through the Eucharist Jesus gives back to us his very self as nourishment, the food we need to not simple survive, but food that is encouragement to live our lives taking up the mission that Jesus calls us to. Just as the first disciples gave to crowds all they needed, we too go out from mass as sustenance for our world.
Fr David Pascoe