The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
The light of the sundown
The crowds, meanwhile, learned of this and followed him. He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said, “Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” He said to them, “Give them some food yourselves.” They replied, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of (about) fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking 7 the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets. Lk 9,11-17
The multiplication of the loaves described in the today passage takes place when “the day was starting to decline”. It is an important notation because the important things of the life are better understood when we are at the sundown. The gift of the providence, of which the today passage narrates, is nothing different from the messianic coronation of the experience of the Hebrew people in the desert, where the manna has every day nourished them. It is the gift of God which becomes bread any time the man choices the freedom to carry on with his project of life to follow the Lord: Jesus, having welcomed the crowds which followed him, “started to talk to them about the kingdom of God and to heal those who needed to be cured”. And the night arrived. The disciples, often searching for the success and the crowd, in this occasion pray the Teacher to leave those persons go: “Please, dismiss the crowd to have them going in the villages and in the country of this area to be housed and to look for food. We are here in a desert zone”. In fact, the most difficult moment arrived, the one when the Word of God, broken and not followed, has to become bread and not to remain only word. This is the moment when the disciples are placed in front of their unbelief: “You yourself give to them food”. They make some computation and they conclude that they have to go to buy the bread which is lacking: they do not think to the celestial solution to donate what they have, to the purpose of having enough food for everyone. This donated bread, which the disciples do not know yet, is the real food which descends from the heaven for the person who has chosen the freedom to follow the will of the Lord, implementing the project of which he has been entrusted. This broken and donated bread is the concretization of the love of God which makes itself bread for the one who has chosen to follow his will: and the more it is shared, the more it is multiplied. When thinking to the generosity and to the grandiosity of God it is possible to understand it, but it is difficult for us to marry the dynamics of the celestial economy. The beatitude, however, goes across the practice of this truth, not on its theoretical knowledge: “If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it” (Jn 13,17). We said by the beginning of this meditation that the truths of the life are better understood when we are at the sundown. It is in fact when the night is close that everything becomes clear and it is easier to think to the bread which never has been lacking and to the providence which, by different ways, always has reached us. The life is as a thrilling book: we understand everything by the end.