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Seventeenth Sunday of the Year—The bread: for sharing

In the event of the bread distribution, it is important to note that the gospel does not use the term multiplication but only of the pooled loaves and fish, and their distribution and the collection of the remainder. The central message of the story should not be sought, then, in the “multiplication”, but in the sharing. 
We are affected by the craving to multiply all that is material: money, health, years of life, friendships, successes, and when we feel unable to multiply, we call upon God in order to do it for us. 
But the desire to multiply is a syndrome of death. It comes from the fear of death and failure; it is a sign of lack of faith. 
Jesus, by his action, intends to answer to the problem of hunger. We would like that he solves it with multiplications; Jesus, however, follows a different logic, a logic that involves joint responsibility—sharing. 
Is it conceivable that the resources of this world would be enough to feed everyone and still with leftovers? Like us, the apostles’ doubted too. Philip does a quick calculation: with 200 denars 4,800 half portions could be prepared (v.7). But where to find a lot of money and a lot of bread? 
In Luke’s Gospel the twelve forward another very realistic and acceptable proposal, “Send the crowd away and let them go into the villages and farms around, to find lodging and food” (Luke 9:12). In other words, this is an issue that does not concern the faith. They come to us to pray, meditate, listen to sermons; as for bread, each has to make do as he or she can. It is the idea, widespread even today, that there are two distinct separate and unconnected spheres: the kingdom of God on the one hand and material life on the other.
The “sharing” example that Jesus set is to be a social ferment, to transform the whole world and the whole person.
Jesus points out what is his proposal by making a gesture: he takes the bread that was offered, distributes it and the miracle takes place, realised by faith in his word which is an invitation to sharing, renouncing to own and keeping for oneself. 
John is the only evangelist who notes that the one who has made available to all the little food he had “was a child.” The poor child is the disciple called to make available to the brothers and sisters all that he has. 
This is a great proposal; this is the key of the miracle! 
It is enough that people put aside their selfishness, overcoming the greed to possess, “which is the root of every evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), and welcome the logic of the kingdom and make available to others, without reservation, all that they have and the miracle happens: all are fed and have leftovers. 
● Father Fernando Armellini scj 
Claretian Publications
Translated by Father John Ladesma SDB
Abridged by Father Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF