Please pray for Alfie Evans, 20 Months old.
Socialized medicine in Britain cannot diagnose his problem, refuses to let
him go elsewhere,
and now wants to take him off life-support.
Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647)—The Multiplication of
Loaves and Fishes—c.1620
Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Saint John's Gospel - Chapter vi
the fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as “Lætare Sunday,” from the
opening words of the Introit (Entrance Hymn). You will note the Rose colored
vestments—a little less somber than the purple worn for most of Lent. The
color change indicates that Lent is about half over, and suggests that it is
a good day to take a “breather from the Lenten exercises, and then to get
back to it on Monday, making the best Lent you can until Easter Sunday. “Lætare”—rejoice
not so much that Lent is half over, but that we are this much closer to the
celebration of our Lord's resurrection!
“There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes;
but what are these among so many?”
today is taken from Saint John's sixth chapter, which focuses so clearly on
the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. This morning
you heard only about the multiplication of common barley loaves. So I urge
you to go home and read the rest of the chapter from your Bible, and learn
how our Lord promised not just common bread, but the Bread of the Angels—His
body and blood, soul and divinity in Holy Communion.
morning's Gospel serves to overcome one of the objections raised by
unbelievers when they are told about Catholic belief in the Real Presence of
our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Not unreasonably, they will wonder how
Jesus could be in so many places simultaneously—how He could be in all the
tabernacles of the world. Even if they understand the difference between
substance and appearance, they will struggle to understand how the substance
of Jesus’ humanity and divinity can be extended to so many locations all
over the world. Quite likely, it was for this reason that our Lord worked
this miracle just before His promise to give us His body and blood.
says that Jesus fed five thousand men. The Latin text says 5,000 viri,
(Greek: οἱ ἄνδρες τὸν ἀριθμὸν ὡς πεντακισχίλιοι.)
suggesting that the total number fed, including women and children, was
somewhat greater. "Viri" means males, and we have no reason to
believe that Jesus preached to an all male audience. Saint Matthew’s
account is more specific: “….five thousand men, besides women and children.”
So let's assume that six or seven thousand people shared those five
loaves of bread—it may have been more. Apart from a miracle, it would have
taken a very sharp knife, indeed, to cut the loaves in that many
pieces! The fact that there would be leftovers from such small pieces is
nothing short of amazing, and the fact they filled twelve baskets confirms
nothing less than a miracle.
could multiply the loaves to such a degree, He certainly could do the same
with Himself. After all, an essential attribute of God is that He is
The Creator of all the substance and the Multiplier of loaves could have no
problem in subsisting anywhere He chooses.
really don’t need to resort to such speculation (and this is why I ask you
to read the whole chapter) for a little further on we read that “Jesus said
to them: I am the living bread which came down from heaven.
If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and
the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world..”
Not at all surprisingly, some of the crowd murmured: “This is a hard
saying…. How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
And “after this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with
only answer was to reiterate the necessity of eating His flesh and drinking
His blood. When people walked away, He did not back down on His claim in
order to preserve His following—for it was the truth:
one year later, on the night before He died, He would take “bread, and bless
it, and break it: and give it to his disciples, and say: ‘Take ye, and eat.
This is my body.’” Likewise, He would give to them the chalice, saying:
“Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which
shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.”
Indeed, He did what He said He would do!
So, one final time, I ask you to
read John 6 sometime today. That way, on Holy Thursday, when we celebrate
the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, you will be able to tell our Lord: “Thank
you Lord. We remember you telling us, so there can be no doubt
whatsoever—we thank you for the Bread of Life and the Chalice of unending