Video Lessons on the “four pillars” of the Catechism
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
Wisdom that comes from God
FIRST READING—God extends, through His 8th-century BC prophet Isaiah, the invitation to a future Messianic banquet. Isaiah’s oracle is a call for conversion to receive the salvific gifts that are freely extended to the covenant people and to all nations who turn to the Lord God of Israel. The oracle also includes a reference to the renewal of the Davidic covenant and a future everlasting covenant. Christians read this passage as an invitation to take part in the new and eternal covenant sealed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, the heir, and inheritor of the Davidic covenant. God promised a future Davidic Messiah would inaugurate a new and eternal covenant in a Messianic banquet. Jesus and His Kingdom of the Universal Church fulfill Isaiah’s prophetic oracle. Jesus invites all who are thirsty to come to the “living water” of Christian Baptism (Jn 4:10, 14). He also offers food to satisfy the spiritually hungry at the altar of His Eucharistic table where they can receive the Body and Blood of the Lord to nourish them on their journey to salvation.
Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
Ps 145:8-9, 15-16, 17-18
The treasure of God’s Law
PSALM—We sing, “God gives us food in due season.” God is the Creator and Master of the earth. Humanity looks to Him to provide the food that comes from the earth in all its seasons. God rules His Kingdom with justice, coupled with mercy. He responds with compassion and salvation to everyone who invokes His name and seeks communion with Him.
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
Rom 8:35, 37-39
God has called the Christian to share in His glory
SECOND READING—St. Paul offers a hymn praising God’s love and faithfulness. Paul wrote that Jesus Christ frees those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior from the dominion of sin and death. He does this by releasing us from being enslaved by sin, the bonds of the old ritual Law, and from a self-centered life to a new Christ-centered life. Paul assures Christians, through their rebirth into the family of God through the Sacrament of Christian Baptism, they receive freedom and power over the forces that drag humanity down into iniquities that lead to the destruction of both the body and soul. By assuming humanity’s fragility, God the Son has triumphed over sin and the grave through His death and glorious Resurrection. He has not only conquered all these destructive forces, but He has communicated that victory to those who have accepted His call to eternal salvation and a bodily resurrection at the end of time.
Agape Bible Study by Michal E. Hunt; used with permission.
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
The Kingdom parables continued
GOSPEL—Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the more than five thousand in the Gospel Reading recalls other miracle feedings from the Old Testament. Matthew’s account of the miracle is not only meant to remind us of Jesus’ compassion but also to prepare us for the promise of a greater miracle. The Jews in the crowd saw Jesus’ feeding miracle in the context of the miracle of the manna feeding during the children of Israel’s Exodus out of Egypt and forty years in the wilderness. The people in the crowd recognized Jesus as the new Moses who had come to liberate His people and the new David, who came to re-establish the eternal Kingdom God promised to David (2 Sam 7:16, 23:5). Jesus’ feeding miracles in the Gospels and the Bread of Life discourse look forward to the day when Jesus, the Davidic Messiah, would give His flesh and blood as food and drink for the salvation of humanity (Jn 6:51, 53-56). Jesus keeps that promise as He continues to give His faithful the spiritual nourishment they need at the Eucharistic Banquet of His earthly Kingdom of the Church that will sustain them on their journey to eternal salvation.
Be aware today when you celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist that you are taking part in an even greater miracle than Jesus’ feeding of the more than five thousand on that mountainside in the Galilee over two thousand years ago. Jesus, the eternal Bridegroom, calls you to come forward to the altar table of His Messianic banquet of the New and eternal Covenant. In the Eucharist, Jesus nourishes you with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity on your journey to eternal salvation. It also provides you with a foretaste of the promised Wedding Banquet of the Lamb and His Bride (the Church) in the heavenly Kingdom after He returns in glory at the End of the Age (Rev 19:7-9). Blessed are you if you are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
We need to nourish our souls with Jesus in Word and Sacrament.
We nourish our souls with the Word of God (by listening to God through reading the Bible) and with the Bread of Life (by receiving Jesus in Holy Communion). We need to find time to be with Christ both in personal and family prayer and in Adoration of the Eucharist whenever this is available. One way of listening to God is to read a passage in the Bible until it speaks to the heart, then stop to reflect on the message God is conveying to our hearts. The next step is to respond to God by prayer, which is talking to Him, as to a friend in conversation, telling Him everything and asking Him for whatever we need.
We need to be “Eucharistic ministers”
We too, can perform miracles in our own time and place, by imitating the four “Eucharistic actions” of Jesus: take humbly and generously what God gives us, bless it by offering it to others in God’s love, break away from our own needs and selfish interests for the sake of others, give with joy-filled gratitude to God who has blessed us with so much. 3) We need to be generous in sharing God’s blessings: We need to share our blessings with others around us, generously and sacrificially, in order to alleviate their spiritual and physical hunger. God lavishly blesses the large-hearted, who generously and sacrificially share their resources with others.
“You give them something to eat.”
Today’s readings tell us that God really cares about His people and that there is enough and more than enough for everybody. Studies show that the world today produces enough food in grain alone to provide every human being on the planet with 3,600 calories a day, not counting such foods as tuber crops, vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits, meats, and fish. Over the past twenty-five years, food production has exceeded world population growth by about 16%. This means that there is no good reason for any human being in today’s world to go hungry. But even in a rich country like the U.S.A., one child out of five grows up in poverty, three million people are homeless and 4000 unborn babies are aborted every day. “The problem in feeding the world’s hungry population lies with our political lack of will, our economic system biased in favor of the affluent, our militarism, and our tendency to blame the victims of social tragedies, such as famine. We all share responsibility for the fact that populations are undernourished. Therefore, it is necessary to arouse a sense of responsibility in individuals, especially among those more blessed with this world’s goods.” (Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra (1961) 157-58).
It is too easy to blame God, too easy to blame governments, too easy to see these things as other people’s problems. They are also our problems. That is the meaning of the Eucharist we celebrate here today. In other words, as Christians we have to commit ourselves to share and to work with God in communicating His compassion to all. God is a caring Father, but He wants our co-operation. That’s what the early Christians did, generously sharing what they had with the needy. They were convinced that everything they needed to experience a fulfilling life was already there, in the gifts and talents of the people around them. People of our time have to be encouraged to share, even when they think they have nothing to offer. Whatever we offer through Jesus will have a life-giving effect in those who receive it. We are shown two attitudes in John’s account (John 6:7-9) of the Gospel story: that of Philip and that of Andrew. Philip said, in effect: “The situation is hopeless; nothing can be done.” But Andrew’s attitude was: “I’ll see what I can do, and I will trust Jesus to do the rest.” Let us have Andrew’s attitude.
God blesses those who share their talents with loving commitment
This is illustrated by Mother Teresa who went to serve the slum-dwellers of Calcutta with just twenty cents in her pocket. When she died forty-nine years later, God had turned her original twenty cents into eighty schools, three hundred mobile dispensaries, seventy leprosy clinics, thirty homes for the dying, thirty homes for abandoned children and forty thousand volunteers from all over the world to help her. We can begin our own humble efforts at “sharing” right here in our parish by participating in the works of charity done by organizations like St. Vincent DePaul Society, the Knights of Columbus and so many other volunteer groups. We may say, “I do not have enough money or talent to make any difference.” But we need to remember that the young boy in the story had only five loaves of bread and two fish. The Bible guarantees that every believer has at least one gift from the Holy Spirit. This is our one “tiny fish.” Perhaps our “fish” is not money, but a talent or an ability that God has given us. We all have something. If we have never trusted God with our time, or our talent, or our treasure…all our resources…this is the time to start. Let us offer everything to God saying, “Here is what I am and what I have Lord; use me.” And He will, blessing and amplifying everything beyond our expectations. As we begin to give, we will discover that the Lord moves in where we are not adequate, and He abundantly supplies what is needed. When we give what we have to God, and we ask Him to bless it, it is then the miracle happens.
We need to eat Jesus the Bread of life
How do we eat Jesus Christ? How do we digest the Son of God? One way is by maintaining daily private devotions, spending time alone with Christ, apart from the family and the busyness of the day. It means taking some time – five, ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes – each day to spend in the presence of Christ, the Bread of Life. We can take the Bible, read a passage until something speaks to the heart, then stop, reflect on what has been and ask, “What is God saying to me in this passage? Is there a command to obey? A promise to claim? An example to follow? A sin to avoid? A prayer to echo?” This is called reflection or meditation. We get quiet and still, focus our mind on God and his Word. The next step is to respond to God by prayer which is talking to Him, speaking to Him as to a friend in conversation, telling Him everything and asking Him for whatever we need. By doing this day in and day out, we will be feeding our soul with the Bread of Life. We will grow strong within. Our Faith will mature. We can eat the Bread of Life also in the public worship of the Church at the Eucharistic celebration, when that is available to us. We gather where fellow-believers join hearts and voices in praising God and listening to His Word taught and preached in a Church service. Since Christ is the heart and center of the Bible, we can say that the Bible is the Bread of Life. When the Bible is preached, the pastor is breaking the Bread of Life for us. Christians feed on the Word of God as they hear it in Church. In Holy Communion, we really eat the glorified body of the Risen, Living Lord and drink his blood and share in his divine life.
Visit Fr. Tony’s Homilies each week for an introduction to the Sunday readings, scripture lessons, homily starter anecdotes, a summary of each of the scripture readings, and Gospel exegesis. Fr. Tony’s Life Messages have be used with permission.
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
Visit Fr. Tony's Homilies each week for an introduction to the Sunday readings, scripture lessons, homily starter anecdotes, a summary of each of the scripture readings, and Gospel exegesis. Fr. Tony's Life Messages have be used with permission.
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
Jesus, you alone are the bread that satisfies our deepest hungers. Help us to avoid feeding on breads that cannot satisfy.
Three sets of questions suitable for individual or group use. Choose one to best fit your purpose and time restraints: Faith Sharing Questions (by Fr. Eamon Tobin), Discussion Questions (by Fr. Clement D. Thibodeau), and Scripture Study Questions (by Vince Contreras).
Jesus, at your last supper, you created a lovely wayby which you can continue to feed our souls in a tangible manner. May we never lose our hunger for you in the Eucharist and may we be ready and willing to share our spiritual and material bread with others. Amen.
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
Video by Larry Broding. Visit Word-Sunday.com website for detailed commentary and other resources regarding the readings for this Sunday.
EXCERPT — Today’s readings invite us to reflect on God’s love for humanity. Both the first reading and the Gospel emphasize God’s care by using images of nourishment. As we hear these readings, we can find comfort in God’s love and use it as a way to model our interactions with one another... Isaiah can inspire us to strengthen, repair and restore our relationships with one another by inviting everyone to the table. Many people, especially people of color, women and people living in poverty, often feel overlooked and unable to advance. It is incumbent upon all of us, especially those in positions of power and privilege, to work consciously to include all people, especially those who are marginalized and disenfranchised. This is not only to right the wrongs of the past or to check a diversity box, although those are important goals. It is equally important, however, to acknowledge the ability of all people to contribute meaningfully to society, modeling our invitation to others in light of God’s actions.
AMERICA MAGAZINE - Jamie Waters
EXCERPT — Many people who want to market Christianity will try to make it into a bargain. “If you do this, God will do that. If you believe and pray, you will be wealthy or healthy. If you believe in Jesus you will not have to experience sickness or worry or pain.” But in Paul’s expression there is no sign of such bargaining. In fact, Paul admits painfully that we as believers in Christ undergo the same trials and tribulations as everyone else in the world. Believing in Christ does not insure us that we can avoid cancer, or that our marriage will last, or that we will be able to protect the people we love. Believing in Christ is not a guarantee to a charmed and easy life. What faith is, is the acceptance of a relationship. What faith is, is believing in a God who caresses us with blessings and who gently strokes us in our pain. Believing in Christ is admitting that there is a God who will never stop loving us.
BUILDING ON THE WORD – Fr. George Sigma
EXCERPT — Jesus challenges us to participate by offering our own resources, by turning to one another in genuine concern with the sure belief that we can make a difference, that we must help one another. Jesus does not choose to do it all alone. He has invited us to do what he does: give of ourselves, our love, our concern, our time, and our care. The parish assembly on Sundays provides us the kind of sign we need in order to become a giving community, a working community, where each member has something to offer, where everyone can receive without having to earn any credits. Sunday Eucharist becomes fulfilled only when the giving is carried out into the daily living of Monday through Saturday.
ECHOING GOD'S WORD – Rev. Clement D. Thimbodeau (1932-2017)
EXCERPT — Wouldn't it be great to have a cupboard that is always full? Today’s readings hold out that promise. There is indeed a cupboard that never goes empty. All you have to do is find it. We could call this cupboard “faith.” Once you find it, you can open its door to enjoy the food that truly satisfies. It is always there, just waiting for you... Jesus himself is our food and our drink! Both his word in scripture and his Real Presence in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist nourish and sustain us on our journey back to him. Come, listen, eat, that you might have life!
EXCERPT — Jesus, his heart moved by compassion, cured the sick. More tellingly, when his disciples wanted to dismiss the pressing crowd to search for food, he told his followers to offer their own food freely. Five loaves and two fish fed thousands, the fragments filling twelve bushels. Maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch. Somewhere in the mystery of God is an unlimited bounty, whether it makes sense to us or not. This God we meet in Jesus just does not work according to our ways. It may not make for good business, it may even be bad law, but whatever else it is, it seems to be God’s way of loving.
SUNDAY WEB SITE - Father John Kavanaugh, SJ
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
The Catena Aurea Commentary
The Catena Aurea (or, Golden Chain) is a compilation of Patristic commentary on the Gospels and contains passages from the Church Fathers. In this masterpiece, Aquinas seamlessly weaves together extracts from various Fathers to provide a complete commentary on all four Gospels.
Click on banner above to show/hide an annotated list of the Church Fathers that Aquinas compiled in his multi-volume commentary of the Gospels.
13. When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
14. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
GLOSS. (ap. Anselm.) The Saviour having heard the death of His Baptist, retired into the desert; as it follows, which when Jesus had heard, he departed thence by ship into a desert place.
AUGUSTINE. (De Cons. Ev. ii. 45.) This the Evangelist relates to have been done immediately after the passion of John, therefore after this were those things done that were spoken of above, and moved Herod to say, This is John. For we must suppose those things to have been after his death which report carried to Herod, and which moved him to doubt who he could be concerning whom he heard such things; for himself had put John to death.
JEROME. He did not retire into the desert through fear of death, as some suppose, but in mercy to His enemies, that they might not add murder to murder; putting off His death till the day of His passion; on which day the lamb is to be slain as the sacrament, and the posts of them that believe to be sprinkled with the blood. Or, He retired to leave us an example to shun that rashness which leads men to surrender themselves voluntarily, because not all persevere with like constancy under torture with the which they offered themselves to it. For this reason He says in another place, When they shall persecute you in one city, flee ye to another. Whence the Evangelist says not ‘fled,’ but elegantly, departed thence, (or, ‘withdrew,’) shewing that He shunned rather than feared persecution. Or for another reason He might have withdrawn into a desert place on hearing of John’s death, namely, to prove the faith of the believers.
CHRYSOSTOM. Or; He did this because He desired to prolong the œconomy of His humanity, the time not being yet come for openly manifesting His deity; wherefore also He charged His disciples that they should tell no man that He was the Christ. But after His resurrection He would have this made manifest. Therefore although He knew of Himself what was done, yet before it was told Him He withdrew not, that He might shew the verity of His incarnation in all things; for He would that this should be assured not by sight only, but by His actions. And when He withdrew, He did not go into the city, but into the desert by ship that none might follow Him. Yet do not the multitudes leave Him even for this, but still follow after Him, not deterred by what had been done concerning John; whence it follows, And when the multitudes had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
JEROME. They followed on foot, not riding, or in carriages, but with the toil of their own legs, to shew the ardour of their mind.
CHRYSOSTOM. And they immediately reap the reward of this; for it follows, And he went out and saw a great multitude, and he had compassion upon them, and healed their sick. For though great was the affection of those who had left their cities, and sought Him carefully, yet the things that were done by Him surpassed the reward of any zeal. Therefore he assigns compassion as the cause of this healing. And it is great compassion to heal all, and not to require faith.
HILARY. Mystically; The Word of God, on the close of the Law, entered the ship, that is, the Church; and departed into the desert, that is, leaving to walk with Israel, He passes into breasts void of Divine knowledge. The multitude learning this, follows the Lord out of the city into the desert, going, that is, from the Synagogue to the Church. The Lord sees them, and has compassion upon them, and heals all sickness and infirmity, that is, He cleanses their obstructed minds, and unbelieving hearts for the understanding of the new preaching.
JEROME. It is to be observed moreover, that when the Lord came into the desert, great crowds followed Him; for before He went into the wilderness of the Gentiles, He was worshipped by only one people. They leave their cities, that is, their former conversation, and various dogmas. That Jesus went out, shews that the multitudes had the will to go, but not the strength to attain, therefore the Saviour departs out of His place and goes to meet them.
15. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18. He said, Bring them hither to me.
19. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
21. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
CHRYSOSTOM. It is a proof of the faith of these multitudes that they endured hunger in waiting for the Lord even till evening; to which purpose it follows, And when it was evening, his disciples came unto him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past. The Lord purposing to feed them waits to be asked, as always not stepping forward first to do miracles, but when called upon. None out of the crowd approached Him, both because they stood in great awe of Him, and because in their zeal of love they did not feel their hunger. But even the disciples do not come and say, Give them to eat; for the disciples were as yet in an imperfect condition; but they say, This is a desert place. So that what was proverbial among the Jews to express a miracle, as it is said, Can he spread a table in the wilderness? (Ps. 78:19.) this also He shews among his other works. For this cause also He leads them out into the desert, that the miracle might be clear of all suspicion, and that none might suppose that any thing was supplied towards the feast from any neighbouring town. But though the place be desert, yet is He there who feeds the world; and though the hour is, as they say, past, yet He who now commanded was not subjected to hours. And though the Lord had gone before His disciples in healing many sick, yet they were so imperfect that they could not judge what He would do concerning food for them, wherefore they add, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns, and buy themselves food. Observe the wisdom of the Master; He says not straightway to them, ‘I will give them to eat;’ for they would not easily have received this, but, Jesus said unto them, They need not depart, Give ye them to eat.
JEROME. Wherein He calls the Apostles to breaking of bread, that the greatness of the miracle might be more evident by their testimony that they had none.
AUGUSTINE. (De Cons. Ev. ii. 46.) It may perplex some how, if the Lord, according to the relation of John, asked Philip whence bread was to be found for them, that can be true which Matthew here relates, that the disciples first prayed the Lord to send the multitudes away, that they might buy food from the nearest towns. Suppose then that after these words the Lord looked upon the multitude and said what John relates, but Matthew and the others have omitted. And by such cases as this none ought to be perplexed, when one of the Evangelists relates what the rest have omitted.
CHRYSOSTOM. Yet not even by these words were the disciples set right, but speak yet to Him as to man; They answered unto Him, We have here but five loaves and two fishes. From this we learn the philosophy of the disciples, how far they despised food; they were twelve in number, yet they had but five loaves and two fishes; for things of the body were contemned by them, they were altogether possessed by spiritual things. But because the disciples were yet attracted to earth, the Lord begins to introduce the things that were of Himself; He saith unto them, Bring them hither to me. Wherefore does He not create out of nothing the bread to feed the multitude with? That He might put to silence the mouth of Marcion and Manichæus, who take away from God His creatures, (i. e. deny that God created the visible world.) and by His deeds might teach that all things that are seen are His works and creation, and that it is He that has given us the fruits of the earth, who said in the beginning, Let the earth bring forth the green herb; (Gen. 1:11.) for this is no less a deed than that. For of five loaves to make so many loaves, and fishes in like manner, is no less a thing than to bring fruits from the earth, reptiles and other living things from the waters; which shewed Him to be Lord both of land and sea. By the example of the disciples also we ought to be taught, that though we should have but little, we ought to give that to such as have need. For they when bid to bring their five loaves say not, Whence shall we satisfy our own hunger? but immediately obey; And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven blessed them, and brake. Why did He look to heaven and bless? For it should be believed concerning Him that He is from the Father, and that He is equal with the Father. His equality He shews when He does all things with power. That He is from the Father He shews by referring to Him whatsoever He does, and calling upon Him on all occasions. To prove these two things therefore, He works His miracles at times with power, at other times with prayer. It should be considered also that in lesser things He looks to heaven, but in greater He does all with power. When He forgave sins, raised the dead, stilled the sea, opened the secrets of the heart, opened the eyes of him that was born blind, which were works only of God, He is not seen to pray; but when He multiplies the loaves, a work less than any of these, He looks up to heaven, that you may learn that even in little things He has no power but from His Father. And at the same time He teaches us not to touch our food, until we have returned thanks to Him who gives it us. For this reason also He looks up to heaven, because His disciples had examples of many other miracles, but none of this.
JEROME. While the Lord breaks there is a sowing of food; for had the loaves been whole and not broken into fragments, and thus divided into a manifold harvest, they could not have fed so great a multitude. The multitude receives the food from the Lord through the Apostles; as it follows, And he gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
CHRYSOSTOM. In doing which He not only honoured them, but would that upon this miracle they should not be unbelieving, nor forget it when it was past, seeing their own hands had borne witness to it. Therefore also He suffers the multitudes first to feel the sense of hunger, and His disciples to come to Him, and to ask Him, and He took the loaves at their hands, that they might have many testimonies of that that was done, and many things to remind them of the miracle. From this that He gave them, nothing more than bread and fish, and that He set this equally before all, He taught them moderation, frugality, and that charity by which they should have all things in common. This He also taught them in the place, in making them sit down upon the grass; for He sought not to feed the body only, but to instruct the mind. But the bread and fish multiplied in the disciples’ hands; whence it follows, And they did all eat, and were filled. But the miracle ended not here; for He caused to abound not only whole loaves, but fragments also; to shew that the first loaves were not so much as what was left, and that they who were not present might learn what had been done, and that none might think that what had been done was a phantasy; And they took up fragments that were left, twelve baskets full.
JEROME. Each of the Apostles fills his basket of the fragments left by his Saviour, that these fragments might witness that they were true loaves that were multiplied.
CHRYSOSTOM. For this reason also He caused twelve baskets to remain over and above, that Judas might bear his basket. He took up the fragments, and gave them to the disciples and not to the multitudes, who were yet more imperfectly trained than the disciples.
JEROME. To the number of loaves, five, the number of the men that ate is apportioned, five thousand; And the number of them that had eaten was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
CHRYSOSTOM. This was to the very great credit of the people, that the women and the men stood up when these remnants still remained.
HILARY. The five loaves are not multiplied into more, but fragments succeed to fragments; the substance growing whether upon the tables, or in the hands that took them up, I know not.
RABANUS. When John is to describe this miracle, he first tells us that the passover is at hand; Matthew and Mark place it immediately after the execution of John. Hence we may gather, that he was beheaded when the paschal festival was near at hand, and that at the passover of the following year, the mystery of the Lord’s passion was accomplished.
JEROME. But all these things are full of mysteries; the Lord does these things not in the morning, nor at noon, but in the evening, when the Sun of righteousness was set.
REMIGIUS. By the evening the Lord’s death is denoted; and after He, the true Sun, was set on the altar of the cross, He filled the hungry. Or by evening is denoted the last age of this world, in which the Son of God came and refreshed the multitudes of those that believed on Him.
RABANUS. When the disciples ask the Lord to send away the multitudes that they might buy food in the towns, it signifies the pride of the Jews towards the multitudes of the Gentiles, whom they judged rather fit to seek for themselves food in the assemblies of the Pharisees than to use the pasture of the Divine books.
HILARY. But the Lord answered, They have no need to go, shewing that those whom He heals have no need of the food of mercenary doctrine, and have no necessity to return to Judæa to buy food; and He commands the Apostles that they give them food. Did He not know then that there was nothing to give them? But there was a complete series of types to be set forth; for as yet it was not given the Apostles to make and minister the heavenly bread, the food of eternal life; and their answer thus belongs to the chain of spiritual interpretation; they were as yet confined to the five loaves, that is, the five books of the Law, and the two fishes, that is, the preaching of the Prophets and of John.
RABANUS. Or, by the two fishes we may understand the Prophets, and the Psalms, for the whole of the Old Testament was comprehended in these three, the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms.
HILARY. These therefore the Apostles first set forth, because they were yet in these things; and from these things the preaching of the Gospel grows to its more abundant strength and virtue. Then the people is commanded to sit down upon the grass, as no longer lying upon the ground, but resting upon the Law, each one reposing upon the fruit of his own works as upon the grass of the earth.
JEROME. Or, they are bid to lie down on the grass, and that, according to another Evangelist, by fifties and by hundreds, that after they have trampled upon their flesh, and have subjugated the pleasures of the world as dried grass under them, then by the presencea of the number fifty, they ascend to the eminent perfection of a hundred. He looks up to heaven to teach us that our eyes are to be directed thither. The Law with the Prophets is broken, and in the midst of them are brought forward mysteries., that whereas they partook not of it whole, when broken into pieces it may be food for the multitude of the Gentiles.
HILARY. Then the loaves are given to the Apostles, because through them the gifts of divine grace were to be rendered. And the number of them that did eat is found to be the same as that of those who should believe; for we find in the book of Acts that out of the vast number of the people of Israel, five thousand men believed.
JEROME. There partook five thousand who had reached maturity; for women and children, the weaker sex, and the tender age, were unworthy of number; thus in the book of Numbers, slaves, women, children, and an undistinguished crowd, are passed over unnumbered.
RABANUS. The multitude being hungry, He creates no new viands, but having taken what the disciples had, He gave thanks. In like manner when He came in the flesh, He preached no other things than what had been foretold, but shewed that the writings of the Law and the Prophets were big with mysteries. That which, the multitude leave is taken up by the disciples, because the more secret mysteries which cannot be comprehended by the uninstructed, are not to be treated with neglect, but are to be diligently sought out by the twelve Apostles (who are represented by the twelve baskets) and their successors. For by baskets servile offices are performed, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the strong. The five thousand for the five senses of the body are they who in a secular condition know how to use rightly things without.
SOURCE: eCatholic 2000
Menu bar scrolls horizontally
"By using the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the homilist can help his people integrate the word of God, the faith of the Church, the moral demands of the Gospel, and their personal and liturgical spirituality." From the Homiletic Directory
Give us this day our daily bread
2828 "Give us": The trust of children who look to their Father for everything is beautiful. "He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."113 He gives to all the living "their food in due season."114 Jesus teaches us this petition, because it glorifies our Father by acknowledging how good he is, beyond all goodness.
2829 "Give us" also expresses the covenant. We are his and he is ours, for our sake. But this "us" also recognizes him as the Father of all men and we pray to him for them all, in solidarity with their needs and sufferings.
2830 "Our bread": The Father who gives us life cannot not but give us the nourishment life requires - all appropriate goods and blessings, both material and spiritual. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus insists on the filial trust that cooperates with our Father's providence.115 He is not inviting us to idleness,116 but wants to relieve us from nagging worry and preoccupation. Such is the filial surrender of the children of God:
- To those who seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, he has promised to give all else besides. Since everything indeed belongs to God, he who possesses God wants for nothing, if he himself is not found wanting before God.117
2831 But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition. The drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord's Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment.118
2832 As leaven in the dough, the newness of the kingdom should make the earth "rise" by the Spirit of Christ.119 This must be shown by the establishment of justice in personal and social, economic and international relations, without ever forgetting that there are no just structures without people who want to be just.
2833 "Our" bread is the "one" loaf for the "many." In the Beatitudes "poverty" is the virtue of sharing: it calls us to communicate and share both material and spiritual goods, not by coercion but out of love, so that the abundance of some may remedy the needs of others.120
2834 "Pray and work."121 "Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you."122 Even when we have done our work, the food we receive is still a gift from our Father; it is good to ask him for it and to thank him, as Christian families do when saying grace at meals.
2835 This petition, with the responsibility it involves, also applies to another hunger from which men are perishing: "Man does not live by bread alone, but . . . by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,"123 that is, by the Word he speaks and the Spirit he breathes forth. Christians must make every effort "to proclaim the good news to the poor." There is a famine on earth, "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD."124 For this reason the specifically Christian sense of this fourth petition concerns the Bread of Life: The Word of God accepted in faith, the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist.125
2836 "This day" is also an expression of trust taught us by the Lord,126 which we would never have presumed to invent. Since it refers above all to his Word and to the Body of his Son, this "today" is not only that of our mortal time, but also the "today" of God.
- If you receive the bread each day, each day is today for you. If Christ is yours today, he rises for you every day. How can this be? "You are my Son, today I have begotten you." Therefore, "today" is when Christ rises.127
2837 "Daily" (epiousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repetition of "this day,"128 to confirm us in trust "without reservation." Taken in the qualitative sense, it signifies what is necessary for life, and more broadly every good thing sufficient for subsistence.129 Taken literally (epi-ousios: "super-essential"), it refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us.130 Finally in this connection, its heavenly meaning is evident: "this day" is the Day of the Lord, the day of the feast of the kingdom, anticipated in the Eucharist that is already the foretaste of the kingdom to come. For this reason it is fitting for the Eucharistic liturgy to be celebrated each day.
- The Eucharist is our daily bread. The power belonging to this divine food makes it a bond of union. Its effect is then understood as unity, so that, gathered into his Body and made members of him, we may become what we receive. . . . This also is our daily bread: the readings you hear each day in church and the hymns you hear and sing. All these are necessities for our pilgrimage.131The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who, sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the oven of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven.132
Miracle of loaves prefigures the Eucharist
1335 The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist.158 The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus' glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father's kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.159
The fruits of Holy Communion
1391 Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."226 Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."227
- On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, "Christ is risen!" Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ.228
1392 What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh "given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,"229 preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.
1393 Holy Communion separates us from sin. The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is "given up for us," and the blood we drink "shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins." For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins:
- For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.230
1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins.231 By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:
- Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world. . . . Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God.232
1395 By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by mortal sin. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins - that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.
1396 The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church. Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body - the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body.233 The Eucharist fulfills this call: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:"234
- If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond "Amen" ("yes, it is true!") and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, "the Body of Christ" and respond "Amen." Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true.235
1397 The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren:
- You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother,. . . . You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal. . . . God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful.236
1398 The Eucharist and the unity of Christians. Before the greatness of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, "O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!"237 The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him may return.
1399 The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. "These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy." A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, "given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged."238
1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders."239 It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, "when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory."240
1401 When, in the Ordinary's judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions.241