Fr. Mike’s Homily for Tuesday after Epiphany (1)

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Tuesday after Epiphany

Theme: Liturgy of the Eucharist

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Tuesday January 4 2022


Mk 6:34-44
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [his] disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate [of the loaves] were five thousand men.
Five thousand men, not counting women and children, are fed from five loaves and two fish. Indeed, nothing is impossible with Jesus, for He is God Incarnate. This miracle is very significant in the lives of the followers of Jesus, and this is shown in the fact that it is the only miracle reported in all four Gospels: two in Mark and Matthew and one each in Luke and John.
The importance of this miracle can be due to two main reasons. First, it is a confirmation of the coming of the messianic age as prophesied in the Old Testament. This reminds the people of what happened during the sojourn of their ancestors in the desert when Yahweh sent down manna from heaven to feed and nourish them. Another similar event happened during the time of the prophet Elisha when he fed a hundred men with just ten loaves of bread, and with some left over (2 Kings 4:42-44). The people expect that this same miracle will be repeated when the Messiah comes. Jesus did this several times, and that is why the people wanted to make Him king (Jn 6:15). This miracle, therefore, is clearly pointing out to Jesus being the Messiah.
Second, the whole Gospel account of this miracle has strong Eucharistic overtones. When Jesus saw the vast crowd, He pitied them, for they seemed like sheep without a shepherd. So, “He began to teach them many things.” This is equivalent to the first part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word. Then, He fed them all with the five loaves and two fish. This miracle is definitely a prelude to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The four actions of Jesus at the Last Supper when He instituted this Sacrament are present in the account: “taking the five loaves”, “said the blessing”, “broke the loaves” and “gave them.” It is understandable, then, that John uses in his Gospel this event as the introduction to the long Eucharistic Discourse of Jesus in the sixth chapter.
The amount left over – “twelve wicker baskets” – is also highly symbolic. The number twelve refers to the twelve tribes of Israel in the Old Testament and the Church established by Jesus on the foundation of the twelve apostles. The abundance of leftover bread illustrates God’s limitless generosity in providing for His children.
Furthermore, it should be noted that Jesus does not distribute the bread and fish directly to the people: “He gave them to [His] disciples to set before the people.” He delegates His disciples to do the task. And that is how Jesus ordinarily operates, that is, through His chosen human instruments. God’s graces come to us through people who have been chosen by God as human conduits. In the same manner, we are always reminded that the graces we receive from God are not only for our personal benefit, but are meant to be shared to others so that they, too, can experience God’s abundant generosity and mercy.
This is precisely what the Eucharist always remind us of. We partake of the Body and Blood of Christ as concrete sign of God’s love for us. But He expects us to pass on that love, to share His gifts especially to those in need. If that does not happen, then the Eucharist becomes meaningless and fruitless, just an empty and abstract ritual.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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