Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21
When Jesus hears of it, he set out by boat for a secluded place, to be alone. But the people heard of it, and they followed him on foot from their towns. When Jesus went ashore, he saw the crowd gathered there, and he had compassion on them. And he healed their sick.
Late in the afternoon, his disciples came to him and said, “We are in a lonely place and it is now late. You should send these people away, so that they can go to the villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fishes.” Jesus said to them, “Bring them here to me.”
Then he made everyone sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fishes, raised his eyes to heaven, pronounced the blessing, broke the loaves, and handed them to the disciples to distribute to the people. And they all ate, and everyone had enough; then the disciples gathered up the leftovers, filling twelve baskets. About five thousand men had eaten there, besides women and children.
“You give them something to eat.”
The material poverty being experienced by the poor sector of our society, particularly lack of food, water, and a decent place to live in, is an indication of the continuing work of the Church to realize the reign of God on Earth. Jesus’ command to the disci ples to “give them something to eat” extends to the contempo rary Church, which claims to be a “church of the poor”. This com mand originates from his com passionate and loving heart, and it is well received by the Church which acts in the same love and compassion to care for the Body of Christ. In like manner, we are our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers, individually sharing in this com mand of Jesus.
Being true to the command would mean, in our time, rea ching out to others in times of need to alleviate their suffering and to lift them up from inhu mane condition, and to help give back their dignity as a human per son, as daughters and sons of the living God. The command could also be extended to the care, pro tection and preservation of natu ral resources that aid in the pro duction of food, water and other things that meet basic needs, and their means of livelihood that are dependent on natural sources.
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