There is a line in that comes back to me again and again. “The hungry sheep look up and are not fed.” I thought it was from Jeremiah but in fact it is a quote from John Milton. The prophet Jeremiah railed against those who are not good shepherds and neglected the sheep. Milton was bemoaning the neglect shown to those that we should care for.
Today we begin the sixth chapter of St John’s gospel. Jesus sees the crowd that had been following him in order to listen to him. They were impressed by signs he gave in curing the sick. Jesus then asked the disciples “Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?”. Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; He did the same with the fish. All had enough to eat. They were satisfied. As Jesus fed the minds and bodies of those who flocked to him, so too he is the food of life for us today. He is the only one who satisfy the deep hunger that is within us.
My great sadness as a priest is that many of those who grow up in the Catholic Church, make their first communion and are confirmed no longer see how vital and how wonderful a gift of the Eucharist is for them. This time last year we were not able to receive Jesus as the Eucharist because of the pandemic restrictions. How did that effect you? What did you miss about not being able to celebrate Mass? Over the next week we will be hearing readings from the sixth chapter of John which is an opportunity for us to reflect on Jesus as the bread of life for us.