When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted."
Beginning today and running for the next several weeks, the Church reflects on the sixth chapter of John's Gospel in the Sunday Mass readings. This chapter is so critical to us because it is so full of the doctrine of the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. We begin the passage with the story of our Lord miraculously feeding the 5,000 with the five loaves of bread and two fish.
This story is recorded in all four Gospels. It highlights its significance. Very few stories outside of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord are recorded in all four Gospels.
Here we find the crowds following Jesus. He has them sit down. Then He uses some bread and fish brought by one of the boys there. He blesses them and they feed the whole crowd. That's where the story ends for most of us. It is indeed a miracle. But what's interesting is what is said at the end of the story: Jesus directs the disciples to gather up all the fragments so that nothing is lost. When it is done, they have 12 baskets left over. It would be enough of a miracle to feed the 5,000. But Jesus goes beyond that to give them more than enough. Why?
I borrow from the priest who said Mass this morning at our parish. He noted that it is indicative of the fact that God always gives more than enough. He is showing us that His love for us is not only enough, it's more than enough. He invites us to come and sit at His feet, listen to His teaching, and receive of Himself. He will always give us more than we can ever comprehend.
Our problem is that we often don't believe this. Our Lord reaches out to us with this super-abundant love, but we are usually refusing it to seek love elsewhere. This is the essence of sin. We try to find what is legitimately offered to us in a way that is outside the bounds of what God has provided.
Today, I am trying to allow this super-abundant love to find a home in my heart. I am guilty of turning the Lord away in unbelief. I am caught in the snare of the enemy who is always trying to convince me that he has something better. But the Lord is still on the hill offering me more than enough bread. I will go and receive what He offers, and there will be plenty left over.