"There is a lad here who has five barley loaves..." —John 6:9
Jesus' miracle of multiplying the loaves to feed the thousands is recorded in all four Gospels. John's Gospel adds the detail that the bread multiplied by Jesus to feed thousands consisted of barley loaves. This detail is pregnant with meaning, such as:
- Barley was the grain of the poor, and Jesus used their food to perform a miracle. The offerings of the poor are important to Jesus. Jesus identifies with the poor (2 Cor 8:9).
- The matzo eaten during the Jewish Passover seder meal is sometimes referred to by the Jewish worshippers as the "poor bread of Pesach." At Passover, the Hebrews recall their liberation from the slavery and poverty of Egypt. In the Eucharist, a word meaning "thanksgiving," we thank Jesus for freeing us from slavery to sin.
- All who receive the Eucharist are poor in comparison to Almighty God. We are to receive the Eucharist humbly and gratefully, in poverty of spirit (see Mt 5:3).
- No offering is too insignificant for Jesus to use miraculously (see Mk 12:42-44).
- Jesus had the apostles gather up twelve baskets of fragments of barley loaves left over "so that nothing will go to waste" (Jn 6:12-13). Nothing is wasted or without purpose in His kingdom. He cares for everything.
God's Word and the Eucharist (the two parts of the Mass) have inexhaustible levels of meaning. Every detail of the Bible and the Eucharist is vitally important. Center your life around the Mass.
Prayer: Father, like St. Martha, may I care about Your details.
Promise: "Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord." —Ps 27:14
Praise: After having been deprived of the Eucharist for several years, Lisa wept upon finally being able to receive Jesus.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 9, 2009
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