Memory of Jesus crucified

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 6,1-15

After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee -- or of Tiberias- and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he had done in curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside and sat down there with his disciples. The time of the Jewish Passover was near. Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, 'Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?' He said this only to put Philip to the test; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, 'Two hundred denarii would not buy enough to give them a little piece each.' One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said, 'Here is a small boy with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that among so many?' Jesus said to them, 'Make the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were sitting there; he then did the same with the fish, distributing as much as they wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, 'Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.' So they picked them up and filled twelve large baskets with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. Seeing the sign that he had done, the people said, 'This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.' Jesus, as he realised they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, fled back to the hills alone.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Evangelist John notes the large crowd following Jesus because they had seen the signs that he was doing for the sick. Those crowds felt that Jesus was a good and powerful man capable of curing whoever had lost health and hope. Jesus, for his part, was aware of the demand of love raising from the crowd. Jesus "looked up" and saw the crowd coming to meet him. He is not like us who generally keep our eyes turned to ourselves. It is not the disciples, but Jesus, who sees and realizes the need of the crowds. He takes the initiative and asks Philip where one could buy bread to feed all of the crowds. Philip does not know how to respond other than saying that it is impossible. They still had not understood that "what is impossible to people is possible to God." We, too, should remember these words instead of easily resigning ourselves in front of the evil that continues to hit especially the poorest. Jesus is not resigning. He commands the disciples to go among the crowd and to make the crowd sit down. The deserted place is changed into a great banquet in which all are freely satiated. It is the image of the kingdom of God that Jesus came to inaugurate: a great a banquet for the crowds where there is plenty of food. Unlike the narrative in the Synoptic Gospels, here the evangelist emphasizes the direct action of Jesus act all by himself: it is he who takes the bread, multiplies and distributes them. It is like underlining that there is a direct relationship between the shepherd and his sheep. The invitation is to go out to the new peripheries of our cities, as Pope Francis said: "We must go out... to the "peripheries" where there is suffering, there is blood that is shed, there are blind people who want to see, there are prisoners of many wicked masters... Those who do not go out of himself, instead of being a mediator, gradually becomes an intermediary, a manager." The evangelist notes that the people, upon seeing this, wanted to proclaim him king. But Jesus fled to the mountain, alone. He had not come to be honoured and served, but to serve and give his life for all.