Fr. Mike’s homily for Friday of the 2nd Week of Easter
Theme: The sacrament of His Body and Blood
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Friday April 16 2021
After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee [of Tiberias]. 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 [bit].” 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.
Today we begin the great chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. The entire chapter is dedicated to the teaching of Jesus about the Eucharist, the sacrament of His Body and Blood. It is introduced by the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, a story so important that it is reported in all four gospels.
What is quite noteworthy in the story is the fact that the miracle began with the act of generosity of an unknown boy. In the eyes of the world, his contribution is definitely insignificant. Five barley loaves and two fish is practically nothing considering the number of people to be fed. Andrew pointed this out to Jesus: “But what good are these for so many?”
But this is precisely the essence of a miracle: it is either against nature or beyond nature. How can five loaves and two fish feed five thousand men, not counting women and children? In the hands of man, these are nothing. But in the hands of Jesus, these are more than enough to feed the multitude. It all depends on whose hands they are in.
A wooden staff in my hands will keep away a stray dog; but in Moses’ hands it will part the Red Sea. A sling shot in my hands is a just toy, but in David’s hand it can slay a mighty giant. Nails in my hands can help make a chair; but nails in the hands of Jesus are His instruments in bringing about salvation for all mankind. What seems nothing or insignificant for man can be something of immense value when entrusted to the hands of God. For with God, nothing is impossible.
The lesson is unmistakably clear. A simple act of generosity can trigger an avalanche of graces, even great miracles, for God cannot be outdone in generosity. But such an act needs an even greater act of faith. Like the poor widow in the Temple, the boy was not afraid and did not hesitate to surrender his meal to the disciples, simply because he had firm faith in the power and providence of the Lord.
We hear it often said, “The more you give, the more you receive.” But for a lot of people this is just a hackneyed phrase, good to hear but easy to dismiss. This is because in the mind of a selfish and materialistic person, what really matters is to have and to acquire more. For them, giving and sharing mean losing or diminishing of what he has. What he does not realize is that “the tighter you squeeze, the less you have”, according to Thomas Merton.
Basically, the main reasons why many people find it so difficult to give and share is the lack of love and faith. And this is also the reason why the hands of God are tied, and as in the case of the townmates of Jesus in Nazareth, “And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith” (Mt 13:58).
Lest we fall into the temptation to be selfish and materialistic, let the words of St. Augustine give us some wisdom: “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” In giving and sharing, especially with the needy, we do not lose anything. Rather, we open our hands to receive more blessings from God. And in effect, we are entrusting our meager resources to God. Again, St. Augustine tells us: “God has no need of your money, but the poor have. You give it to the poor, and God receives it.”
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches