18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel – Matthew 14:13-21
Jesus’ miraculous feeding of more than 5,000 has an intensely Eucharistic dimension:
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.
–Catechism paragraph 1335.
Jesus performed this miracle so that the people could remain with Him and receive food for their bodies. Similarly, through the Lord’s miraculous gift of Himself in the Eucharist, we abide in His sacramental presence, and we are spiritually nourished by His very Body and Blood (1380, 1392).
Benedict XVI has reflected upon the meaning of these Eucharistic gestures in the context of the Last Supper:
The breaking of bread for all is in the first instance a function of the head of the family, who by this action in some sense represents God the Father, who gives us everything, through the earth’s bounty, that we need for life. It is also a gesture of hospitality…
God’s bountiful distribution of gifts takes on a radical quality when the Son communicates and distributes himself in the form of bread…In this sacrament we enjoy the hospitality of God, who gives himself to us…
Thus breaking bread and distributing it – the act of attending lovingly to those in need – is an intrinsic dimension of the Eucharist. Caritas, care for the other, is not an additional sector of Christianity alongside worship; rather, it is rooted in it and forms part of it.
–Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 2, p. 129.
Question for reflection: How does God’s generosity to me inspire me to be generous to others?