In our salvation history, we see how God has always taken care of his people. He cares for the wellbeing of his people, not only in their material needs, but also in every aspect of their human existence. For the wellbeing of his people. God through human mediation and sacramentality, provides their needs. We are told that a man from Baal-Shalishah brought the man of God, Elisha, twenty barley loaves, which he ordered to be given to the people to eat. At his insistence that believing in the word of the Lord, the people ate with some left over (2 Kings 4:42-44). Here, we see that this, and the so many miracles attributed to the prophets of old helped the people of Israel to understand that the life of a person does not depend on any other thing, except on the Lord, and he alone.
Jesus Christ is the word of God spoken to us through whom God is known and exercises dominion over us within the created order. He came proclaiming the Kingdom of God in our midst. In our gospel reading today, a large crowd followed Jesus because they saw signs he was performing on the sick. At the Jewish feast of Passover, he fed about five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish given by a boy. After everybody had eaten, they collected fragments which filled twelve wicker baskets. Seeing this great sign, the people recognized him as truly the Prophet, who is to come into the world (John 6:1-15).
The early Church attached much importance to the miraculous multiplication of loaves which always point to the Eucharist; Jesus’s walking on the water which recalls the exodus, an event which was followed by the gift of the manna to Israel in the desert. Both of them combined point to the baptism, and Christ’s gift of himself to us in the Eucharist as food for our journey through life, as we journey to the banks of eternity, our Promised Land of heaven.
Yes, Jesus is with us in his Eucharistic presence and by his Holy Spirit. In the Eucharist, Jesus is always present with us, so that we can pass the challenges and trials, which constitute the test of time. As we consider how heroic individuals have endured persecutions, and how Christianity has survived over the centuries, we can trust that all this, is part of God’s plan. Trials, tribulations and persecutions, are purifying, ingredients; through them, we are sanctified and transformed, like gold purified more than seven times in the fire. In every trial, Jesus is with us giving us a share in his resurrection, and making us friends of God. Like the apostles who left the Sanhedrin rejoicing for having been made worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus, we too, are called to rejoice when we are given a share in the sufferings of Christ. He made it clear that, if anyone would come after him, he or her must renounce himself or herself, take up his or her cross and follow in his footsteps. St. Peter tells us: “rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed, you may also rejoice exultantly (1 Peter 4:13).”
When this happens, know that Jesus is with us. In the Eucharist, he offers himself to us as the food that will enable us to pass the test of time and become saints. He is our viaticum or food for our earthly journey. As he fed more than five thousand men with five barley loaves and a couple of dried fish, given through the generosity of a lad (John 6:1-15), so does he continue to feed us now, with himself, without being exhausted.
It is based on his experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially in his identifying with the suffering Christ that St. Paul as a prisoner for the Lord, was able to offer counsel and inspiration to his disciples in Ephesus, to live a life worthy of the calling they have received, with perfect humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another lovingly. He asked them to make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force, since there is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope. For our unity in faith, he tells us that there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; there is one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all.
May God preserve us in the spirit and grace of unity of faith, now and forever.