Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat’?” (John 6: 5)

We are familiar with this narrative of today’s Gospel (John 6:1-15) where Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes and fed the crowd. As we see from the verses that follow, Jesus was referring to holistic nourishment: physical and spiritual food. Today, once again in isolation for many of us, let us focus on the nourishment of the Word of God.

Quoting the Prophet Amos 8:11: “Behold, there shall come days when I will send famine upon the land, not a hunger for bread which nourishes the body, nor a thirst which water satisfies, but the hunger and thirst to hear the Word of God,” St. Eugene wrote:

Often the action of grace precedes the preaching of the Gospel and when hearts are touched by the first words of this marvelous preaching, they feel the need to open themselves […] to receive the divine seed.

Bishop de Mazenod, Pastoral Letter 1844.

May this day be an opportunity for us to spend time open ourselves to receive the divine seed – and allow that seed to bear fruit in ourselves and others.

May it also be a day when we become aware of people in our neighborhood repeating the words of Jesus: “Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?” – and respond generously to the needs of a foodbank or feeding scheme in our area.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Give us today, our daily bread…” I think of the many ways that will be a lived reality especially in light of the pandemic and how we respond to so many in need.

    Standing in line for my groceries, perhaps the hardest part of which is not having something to support me, to lean and so I will often talk to others in front of me or behind me. On day last week though there was a man who kept coming up to me begging for money. Inside I felt astounded that he would break all the ‘safe distancing rules’. I looked around and along the line there were a few others begging for money. The security guards called out warnings to stop ‘harassing’ us and eventually called the police. And still they begged – it was their last resort. They were desperate. I stood there with tears in my eyes and one of the security guards came over and told me not to be afraid – the police were on the way. I wasn’t afraid, it’s just that my heart was breaking open to see the desperation of the man standing next to me.

    I think of Eugene himself, Bishop of Marseilles during the great Irish Famine and how he saw the suffering of the Irish people, and how he allowed his heart to open even wider than before and look for ways to help – not just those who landed on the shores of France but indeed those who were left back in Ireland to starve and die.

    How today will I allow myself to be touched and opened – to receive the divine seed and to then share that with others, who like me hunger and thirst for something more. Today is the first time I have heard and recognized these lines from Amos. I am grateful for being able to receive this gift and look for ways that it can grow and bear fruit…

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