Convert to Faith in Providence


loaves of bread Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last Thursday we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, which in Italy and other countries is transferred to Sunday. It is the Feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Gospel tells the story of the miracle of the loaves (Luke 9:11-17). I want to focus on one aspect that always strikes me and makes me think. We are on the shore of Lake Galilee, the evening draws near, Jesus cares for the people who have been with him for so many hours: there are thousands of them, and they are hungry. What to do? The disciples are discussing the problem, and they say to Jesus, “Dismiss the crowd” so that they can go into the neighboring villages to find food. But Jesus says, “Give them some food yourselves” (v. 13). The disciples are unsettled, and they respond, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have,” as if to say: just enough for ourselves.

Jesus knows very well what to do, but wants to involve his disciples, He wants to teach them. The attitude of the disciples is human attitude, an attitude that seeks the most realistic solution, a solution that does not create too many problems: Dismiss the crowd – they say – let each one arrange what he can for himself; for the rest, you have already done so much for them: you preached, you healed the sick…Dismiss the crowd!

Jesus’ attitude is completely different, and is dictated by His union with the Father and compassion for the people, the compassion Jesus has for all of us: Jesus feels our problems, feels our failings, feels our needs. Before those five loaves, Jesus thinks: here is providence! From this tiny amount, God can bring forth what is necessary for everyone. Jesus trusts completely in the heavenly Father, He knows that in Him all things are possible. So he tells the disciples to have the people sit down in groups of fifty – this is not accidental: this means that they are no longer a crowd, but they become communities, nourished by the bread of God. Then He takes the loaves and fishes, raises His eyes to heaven, says the blessing – the reference to the Eucharist is clear – and then He breaks them and begins to give them to the disciples, and the disciples distribute them… and bread and fish do not do not run out! This is the miracle: more than a multiplication it is a sharing, animated by faith and prayer. They all ate and some was left over: it is the sign of Jesus, the bread of God for humanity.

The disciples saw, but didn’t understand the message well. They were caught up, like the crowd, in the enthusiasm of success. Once again, they followed human logic and not that of God, that of service, of love, of faith. The feast of Corpus Christi calls us to convert to faith in Providence, to be able to share the little that we are and that we have, and never to close in on ourselves. Let us ask our Mother Mary to help in this conversion, to truly follow the Jesus whom we worship in the Eucharist. Amen.

Text from page
of the Vatican Radio website


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