First Reading Commentary
In the design of the Lectionary, the First Reading and the Gospel are purposely intended to be similar. For this Sunday, the similarities are obvious as both Readings involve miraculous feedings.
In this, the First Reading, “a man came from Baal-shalishah,” a city north of Jerusalem; and this man cannot possibly comprehend how “a hundred people” could be fed with such a small amount of food. “Elisha, the man of God,” speaks the words of God and says, “They shall eat and there shall be some left over.” And when they had eaten, there was some left over.
When we read Scripture, very often the passage we are reading reminds us of another passage. In this Reading, not only does today’s Gospel come to mind but also the words of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, “For nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37).
Elisha prefigures Christ, who has no doubts that the crowd of people will be fed. We, a people of God, are actually well-represented by both men in this Reading. Each of us probably has our fair share of doubts that Divine Providence will intervene in certain situations, especially in circumstances that look hopeless; but then again we are a people of prayer because we know that indeed with God all things are possible.
Second Reading Commentary
Paul’s plea can be summed up by saying that we should act in accordance with what we believe and live by Christian virtues.
The word “prisoner” has negative connotations but being “a prisoner for the Lord” is something we should never wish to be freed from; although being “a prisoner for the Lord” is true freedom.
We’re all in this together because we are one, the Body of Christ, giving praise to “one Lord,” Who is “God and Father of all.” Since we have this in common, it demands “humility, gentleness, and patience” with each other, “bearing with one another through love.”
Since “the Jewish feast of Passover was near,” it’s reasonable to assume that the “large crowd” was even larger than what Jesus and the apostles were accustomed to.
Jesus asks, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Both Philip and Andrew contribute answers which do not solve the dilemma as neither can foresee this amount of people being fed.
Although it can be extremely difficult at times, it is our faith that should lead us more on our journey than our physical sight. These two apostles, Philip and Andrew, were relying on their physical sight and not their faith, even with Jesus in their midst, knowing what He was capable of doing. From this we can see how prayer is so necessary in our lives to continually strengthen our faith.
In Luke 6:21 are the words, “Blessed are you who are now hungry for you will be satisfied.” In today’s Gospel these words would seem to be fulfilled in a physical sense; but when Jesus became Man to dwell among us, He not only mingled the Divine with humankind but also mingled heaven with earth. Even though a physical miracle has taken place, the words in Saint Luke’s Gospel seem to suggest some kind of fulfillment in the future. Perhaps today’s Gospel is not only another wonderful miracle from Jesus, but also a glimpse into the joys of heaven and eternal life whereby we will be abundantly satisfied.
“When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, ‘This is truly the Prophet, the One Who is to come into the world.”’ These words may be a reference to what is written in Deuteronomy 18:15, “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen.”
Let us not conclude without mentioning the boy who possessed the little food that was available. He, surely as hungry as the rest, had faith in Jesus to share everything he had. “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:4).
In our life of faith, if we offer to Jesus the little we have, He will indeed multiply it.