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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Saturday 5th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gen 3:9-24): The Lord God called to Adam and asked him, «Where are you?». He answered, «I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself». Then he asked, «Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!». The man replied, «The woman whom you put here with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it». The Lord God then asked the woman, «Why did you do such a thing?». The woman answered, «The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it».

Then the Lord God said to the serpent: «Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; on your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel». To the woman he said: «I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master». To the man he said: «Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, «Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; for you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return».

The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living. For the man and his wife the Lord God made leather garments, with which he clothed them. Then the Lord God said: «See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is evil! Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life also, and thus eat of it and live forever». The Lord God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken. When he expelled the man, he settled him east of the garden of Eden; and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Responsorial Psalm: 89
R/. In every age, o Lord, you have been our refuge.
Before the mountains were begotten and the earth and the world were brought forth, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn man back to dust, saying, «Return, o children of men». For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.

You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass, which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return, o Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants!
Verscicle before the Gospel (Mt 4:4): Alleluia. One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Mk 8,1-10): A great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called his disciples and said to them, «I feel sorry for these people because they have been with me for three days and now have nothing to eat. If I send them to their homes hungry, they will faint on the way; some of them have come a long way». His disciples replied, «Where in a deserted place like this could we get enough bread to feed these people?». He asked them, «How many loaves have you?». And they answered, «Seven».

Then He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute. And they distributed them among the people. They also had some small fish, so Jesus said a blessing and asked that these be shared as well. The people ate and were satisfied. The broken pieces were collected, seven wicker baskets full of leftovers. Now there had been about four thousand people. Jesus sent them away and immediately got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

«They have nothing to eat»

Fr. Carles ELÍAS i Cao
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, in our times of inclemency and anxiety, Jesus also calls us to tell us he feels «sorry for these people» (Mk 8:2). Today, with the peace process in crisis, fear, apathy, banality and evasion may abound: «and now have nothing to eat».

Whom is the Lord calling to? The text says: «So Jesus called his disciples» (Mk 8:1), that is, He calls me, not to send them home hungry, to give them something to eat. Jesus sympathizes with them —this time in heathen land— because they are hungry.

But, alas! Sheltered in our little world, we say we can do nothing about it. «Where in a deserted place like this could we get enough bread to feed these people?» (Mk 8:4). Where shall we find a true and firm word of hope while knowing the Lord will be with us every day till the end of time? How can we tell the believers and the non-believers that violence and death are no solution?

Today, the Lord simply asks us how many loaves have we. Whatever we have, this is what He needs. The text says «seven», a symbol for the heathen, just as twelve was a symbol for the Jewish people. The Lord wants to reach us all —this is why the Church, from its Catholicism, wants to recognize itself— and is asking for your help. Give Him your prayer: it is a loaf of bread! Give Him the Eucharist you have celebrated: it is another loaf of bread! Give Him your decision to reconcile with those you love, with those that have offended you: still another loaf of bread! Give Him your sacramental reconciliation with the Church: another loaf! Give Him your little sacrifice, your fasting, your solidarity: and still another loaf! Give Him your love for his Word that soothes and gives you strength: more bread! Anyway, give Him whatever He asks from you, though you may believe it is not worthwhile.

As St. Gregory of Nyssa says: «He who splits his bread with the poor becomes a part of He who, for us, wanted to be poor. The Lord was poor; do not be afraid of poverty».