There is a church in the Holy Land built next to the site where the miracle of the multiplication of loaves was believed to have taken place. It’s a fairly simple church, but with these wonderful mosaic floors. And on the floor right underneath the altar there is a famous mosaic, that shows four loaves of bread and two fish. Now, if you remember from the gospel, Jesus used five loaves of bread, not four. Did the artist forget how to count? No. The fifth loaf of bread is the bread offered on the altar itself.
The great lesson of this miracle is that if whatever you are willing to give to Jesus, even a small amount, Jesus himself will multiply in abundance. Remember, that even a seed of faith can grow into a large plant. That the seed sown on good soil will yield thirty, sixty or a hundred-fold. Give to Jesus your imperfect love, your sufferings and little joys, and he will give to you his perfect and fulfilling divine love, a love and goodness that joyfully satisfies eternally.
Jesus is given five loaves and two fish, and with that small offering he was able to feed and nourish thousands of people, with much leftover. This small offering of bread and wine, which is brought here at every Mass. The priest calls upon the power of the Holy Spirit to transform it into the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, a spiritual food that preserves us for eternal life, strengthening our spirit and removing sin. You will not find a greater transaction than this in the world.
Yet sometimes we become foolish and we choose to separate ourselves from this great love of Christ. What separates you from the love of Christ? St. Paul believes nothing can do so. One can endure all things, lose all things, and still retain the love of Christ.
Nothing in the present, nothing in the future, not even death itself can take away the love of Christ that you have received. Because the life and love of Christ can outlast all things, that relationship can remain eternal, even when everything else in life is taken away.
Do you do anything that separates us from Christ, and is it really worth that separation? Perhaps there is a fear of giving up the frivolities of entertainment and pleasure. The fear is that if they are gone, we will be unfulfilled and unsatisfied, that somehow our lives will become less engaging. I can’t say no to this show, or to this gossip. I can’t say no to this free time, I can’t say no to this event. I can’t say no to this sin, to this wasteful or destructive habit.
Why spend money on what is not bread? Why spend your wages on things that do not satisfy? I spoke last week about discerning proper priorities, giving attention to those things that matter most. And the persons who matter most are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I’m not saying to ignore things of entertainment and fun. I’m not even saying to avoid luxury items. I am, once again saying, to not pursue such things at the expense of gifts and persons that actually matter. I am asking again to consider what are your priorities, what will give you the greatest fulfillment and satisfaction, and what good things will last. That is the love, life and goodness of God, dwelling in your heart.
God tells us to depend on him for true nourishment and satisfaction. He is constantly inviting you to receive from, freely and without cost, to be nourished, to receive life. So let nothing separate you from the love of Christ, the love that nourishes and fulfills for eternity.