The miracle of the loaves and the fish is perhaps one of the best examples of how Our Lord works in our lives. Our Lord puts 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). Our Lord knew exactly 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 the people. But Philip was flummoxed. How could he possibly provide for so many in such a remote place and with limited resources?
But Our Lord 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 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 Our Lord. It’s a relationship in which we bring to Jesus the little bit that we have, and he takes it 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 apostles. He will fill us with his grace and show us how to pass on 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 Our Lord’s hands and feet, his ears and eyes. This is the mystery and the privilege of the Christian life. Our Lord feeds us every day at Mass, 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.