“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” (John 6:12)

The miracle of the loaves and fishes is one of the best examples of how Jesus works in our lives. In the story, Jesus put Philip to the test when, looking at the crowd that had gathered, he asked: “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” (John 6:5). Jesus knew what he was going to do, but he wanted Philip and the others to feel some sense of the responsibility that Jesus constantly felt as he ministered to all the people. But Philip was dumb­founded. How could he possibly provide for so many? He was just an ordinary wage earner, not one of the super-rich.

But Jesus showed Philip that simple human resources—in this case, just five loaves and two fish— can become more than enough when they are offered to him freely. No offering is too small when it is paired with faith and trust. Even the leftovers will outstrip our expectations!

Today’s Gospel reading warns us against underestimating Jesus, but it also warns us against under­estimating ourselves. It tells us that the Christian life is a partnership between us and the Lord. It’s a rela­tionship in which we bring to Jesus the little bit that we have, and he takes it to himself and transforms it into something that will feed every­one around us. If we give him our time, our hopes and dreams, and our small attempts at faithfulness, he will turn us into his own ambassadors. He will fill us with his grace and show us how to spread that grace to the people around us.

Just as the bread and wine at Mass are transformed into the body and blood of Christ, so too can we be transformed into Jesus’ hands and feet and ears and eyes. This is the mystery and the privilege of the Christian life. We come to Jesus, and he sends us back into the world with more than enough to feed everyone we encounter—and still have more than enough left over for ourselves!

“Jesus, I want to feed the multitudes around me, both physically and spiritually. Help me to be open and generous with you, so that I can be generous with the world. I want to help you set this world ablaze with your love and mercy.”

Acts 5:34-42; Psalm 27:1,4,13-14