Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena
Bishop Robert Barron
April 29, 2022 Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Gospel: Jn 6:1-15
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the feeding of the five thousand, which is a type of the Mass. Jesus is interested not only in instructing the crowds but also in feeding them. Copying this rhythm, the Mass moves from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The disciples supply a poor pittance—five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus makes the customary Eucharistic moves in regard to the bread: taking, giving thanks, and distributing. And everyone is fed.
During the sacred liturgy, the priest, on behalf of the people, offers to God a small pittance: some wafers of bread and some wine and water. But because God has no need of these gifts, they come back infinitely multiplied for the benefit of the people.
Through the power of Christ’s word, those gifts become his very Body and Blood, the only food capable of feeding the deepest hunger of the human heart. This liturgical rhythm is beautifully conveyed by the laconic lines: “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.”