Friends, today’s Gospel tells of the feeding of the five thousand, which is a type of the Mass. Jesus is interested not only in instructing the crowds but also in feeding them. Copying this rhythm, the Mass moves from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The disciples supply a poor pittance—five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus makes the customary Eucharistic moves in regard to the bread: taking, giving thanks, and distributing. And everyone is fed.
During the sacred liturgy, the priest, on behalf of the people, offers to God a small pittance: some wafers of bread and some wine and water. But because God has no need of these gifts, they come back infinitely multiplied for the benefit of the people. Through the power of Christ’s word, those gifts become his very Body and Blood, the only food capable of feeding the deepest hunger of the human heart.
This liturgical rhythm is beautifully conveyed by the laconic lines: “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.”