Today we find Jesus and His disciples faced with a hungry crowd and little or no means of feeding them. In this situation of need, people reacted in different ways. Philip made a rather practical calculation: on the basis of the number of people and the amount of money available to buy food, and decided that nothing could be done. Andrew recognized that one of the crowd had a small amount of food but he dismissed this small resource as of no value. There were two other reactions in the story. There is the response of the small boy who willingly handed over the few pieces of food that he had. This is the action of the generous person, prepared to share all he or she has, even though it appears far less than what is needed. He gave all he could. Then there is the response of Jesus himself. He took the small resources the young boy was generous enough to share and, having prayed the prayer of thanksgiving to God over this food, he somehow fed the enormous crowd. The gospel teaches us that if we give generously to others from our resources, the Lord will work powerfully through our gift, small as it may seem to us.
We too are called to compassion - to allow our heart to be moved with pity for others, and share our resources to help those with their physical and spiritual needs. Think of the need that people all around us have for a personal encounter with the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, opening the way for them to have a place at the table of the Eucharistic banquet of the Lord. That is the meaning of the Eucharist we celebrate here today, namely, that as Christians we commit ourselves to share, to work with God in communicating His compassion to all. God is omnipotent but, much of the time, He needs our co-operation to show people just how caring He really is.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.