“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” Jn 6: 12
The readings for today are filled with depth and richness on the meaning of the Eucharist. The prophet Elisha in the first reading using his God given power to feed people that were gathered and the people in the Gospel of John proclaiming, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”, (Jn 6:15) when they are fed with only five loaves of bread. The questioning of the Apostles as to how so many people could be fed with so little. Which is also reflected by the servant’s response to Elisha in the first reading. The plentitude of food leftover found in both readings reflecting God’s abundant giving of self to us.
The gathering of the fragments left over appears in all four Gospel accounts of the Feeding of the Five Thousand which is the only miracle that appears in all four Gospels. This statement is what caught my attention as I reflected on the readings for today. We “gather” to celebrate the Eucharist as a community of believers. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he reminds us that we are living out our call to be unified as “one body and one Spirit”. The Eucharist is about receiving and being nourished by God so that we may have strength and grace to go out to others to feed them, clothe them, shelter them, visit with them and bury them. We are the ones gathering these fragments with the One to whom we have all been called to through our “faith and baptism”. The gathering of fragments in the Gospel is about God not letting anyone of his children be disconnected from him. Paul urges us to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.” We do this through sharing our talents and serving others. It is a continuation of the Eucharistic celebration that all might be fed by knowing the presence of Christ through our kindness and generosity.
How do I gather others so that they may know the presence of Christ, “so that nothing will be wasted”?
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.