Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 12, 2024


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R/. There is one thing I ask of the Lord, to live in the house of the Lord

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. Man shall not live by bread alone, but be every word that comes from the mouth of God.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

 1.      The gospel narrates the miracle of multiplying five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand. It is not a mere miracle that displays the power of Jesus. It is a testimony of the care and concern of God for the suffering humanity. There is so much hunger and sickness. The world is hungry for healing and health, for feeding and nourishment.

 2.      It is notable that it is Jesus who senses the need of the hungry people and asks, “How are we to provide bread for them to eat?” God always takes the initiative to enter into our difficult situations and alleviate our pain.

 3.      However, God wants our contribution to join with His action. What we contribute may be very little. Five loaves and two fish will be nowhere to feed five thousand. But there is nothing to worry about. All that is needed is to pool together all our available resources and place them at the Lord’s disposal. We need to submit to him what we have. Once touched and blessed by him, even our very little becomes big and more.

 4.      When we cooperate with God’s grace, our little will become abundant. It will not only give what is sufficient to remove the need but will also lead to ‘reserve’. Not only the five thousand are well-fed but also twelve baskets still remain with the leftovers.

 5.      This is the spirit of cooperation that drove the apostles in their mission. They trusted not in their human capacities or resources but in God’s mighty power. They knew that they were doing God’s work and so nothing would stop them.

 6.      The wise Pharisee, Gamaliel too realises this. That is why he wisely counsels the other authorities not to put deliberate obstacles in the way of the apostles. For, if it is really God’s work, they would be opposing God Himself. If it is not God’s work, they need not stop it. Their mission will die by itself in course of time.

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