Commentary on the Gospel of
“HOW MANY LOAVES HAVE YOU?“
In the memory of the disciples there were many things that “happened.” “Remember the amazing time when he fed a crowd with seven loaves of bread?”
But there must have come a time when they realized that these were also signs that fit together in a deep pattern that couldn’t be discerned in the moment. Surely something more was happening that day than just a miraculous meal.
In time the disciples would struggle to put these memories together. They remembered his prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” They remembered his mysterious blessing of the Passover bread at his Last Supper. All these memories must have come together with the recollection of an impromptu banquet when “the people ate and were satisfied.” Jesus didn’t just offer bread; he offered life, sustenance, blessing—an answer to people’s deepest hunger.
They could not of course envision how this meal would be reenacted one day in huge outdoor Masses: the long lines at various stations, the faithful proceeding patiently to receive the Bread of Life. But it is also reenacted in the most ordinary liturgy, whenever two or three are gathered together in his name. We remember. And we are satisfied.