January 5, 2021

Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8).

The love of God runs through both readings today. The reading from John stresses the love that we should have for one another and for God. The gospel reading shows us love in action, as Jesus is said to have compassion on the crowd because they were like sheep without a shepherd. We then have the familiar miracle of the miraculous feeding of the crowd gathered around Jesus.

One interesting thing about this miracle is that it is the only one in Jesus’ life that is found in all four Gospels. And for followers of Father Eymard, another pronounced element is that these accounts are told in such eucharistic terms. The same great verbs used at the Last Supper are found here, and the structure is that of a Mass. There is a long liturgy of the word as well as a eucharistic element. (One can imagine modern audiences beginning to grumble after a while—and asking Jesus if he intended to preach all day.)

Later in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus will hark back to this as well as to his feeding of the multitude in Gentile territory. He asks his disciples how many baskets full of fragments they had in each case. When they answer correctly, he asks, “Do you still not understand?” Jesus places the emphasis not on the feeding itself, but on all that is left over: a basket full for each of the disciples. The real question is what they are doing with all that bread. The same question is addressed to us today. Does our compassion for others move us to share Jesus’ bread with them? Or do we hoard it for ourselves?

Let Us Pray:

O loving Jesus, give us a heart to show our love for you by truly loving our neighbor. Let us never hoard the gift of yourself, but willingly share with others the blessings we have so undeservedly received.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.