In today’s Gospel reading, we have St. John’s account of the feeding of the 5,000. You might be wondering why, in Year B (Gospel of Mark), we look to John’s account when Mark records this miracle as well. I will tell you…I don’t know. But, what I do know is this mountain scene on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, by all accounts, was a recipe for disaster. You do the math: 5,000 men to which we could safely estimate and add 5,000 women. Taking into consideration children, we could easily add another 15 to 20,000. So, how many were there in total? Running these estimates on my calculator I came up with: a multitude.
The hour had grown late and the crowd was hungry. Jesus then directs the disciples to give the multitude something to eat. What? Disciple panic mode? “Let’s send them all away to the country and villages where they can get themselves something to eat…We don’t have nearly enough money.” Perhaps in desperation, they point out a lad with two fish and five barley loaves. The disciples were likely thinking, “We can’t do this, we don’t have enough food or sufficient funds, we only have a lad with two fish and five loaves, we are short – inadequate for this task!”
A year or so ago, this Gospel passage came up on a weekday Mass that I was scheduled to preach. I was in the adoration chapel reading and meditating on this text when, at a certain point, my thoughts seemed to pause and I was strongly impressed with the words, “You are insufficiently adequate for me.” I immediately recalled the words of St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Convinced that Jesus was indeed speaking those powerful words, which aligned with scripture, I accepted and embraced my own insufficiency, in fact, the limitations and insufficiency that we all share. Then I thought, “How are we then adequate?”
Called to make disciples of all nations, we stand before a broken world with ‘two fish and five loaves’, and the gap, the delta is overwhelming and seemingly impossible to close…at least on our own. But, thanks be to God! In our Eucharistic union with the Father in each Mass we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity. Our part is to give him our “insufficient” lives – the ‘two fish and barley loaves’. His part is to sanctify and multiply our offering and miraculously feed the multitudes of the world through our cooperation with him.
Since we are speaking about adoration…At each Mass this weekend you will hear a brief sharing from one of your fellow parishioners about the blessings of Eucharistic Adoration. In that sharing you will likely hear a story of how significant and transformative adoring our Lord has been. I can honestly say the time spent in the adoration chapel has been a life changer for me as well.
Jesus loves you and he wants you to visit Him. He desires a life-long friendship with you. If you are currently not a regular at the adoration chapel, PLEASE come and pray, adore, worship the Lord. Try it for an hour, a half hour, even ten minutes. Sign up for a time. Bring your joys, sorrows, wounds…all of your life before the Lord. He will be with you, and you will be richly rewarded for that time spent before Him. If we are going to change the world we must begin with ourselves.
I leave you with a few inspiring and insightful quotations on Eucharistic Adoration:
St. Catherine of Genoa, “Any time spent before the Eucharistic presence, be it long or short, is the best-spent time of our lives.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta, “In order to convert America and save the World what we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hours of prayer.”
St. Padre Pio, “A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even an hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”
St. Pope John Paul II, “The best, the surest and the most effective way of establishing PEACE on the face of the earth is through the great power of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”
Come, let us adore Him!