The Wonder of the Multiplication of the Loaves of Bread Anticipates the Holy Eucharist

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel

Today, 29 July 2012, it is the 8th Sunday after the Pentecost, also called of the Multiplication of the loaves. The Evangelical pericope of Saint Matthew, chapter 14, lines 14-22, presenting the miraculous multiplication of the five loaves of bread and of the two fish in the desert by Jesus Christ, our Saviour was read during the Divine Liturgy.

His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania showed in the sermon delivered in the chapel of the “Great Martyr George” of the Patriarchal Residence that this wonder of the multiplication of the loaves speaks, first of all, about the priorities that the Christian faithful should have: “We must have the spiritual food first, acquired through the meeting with God. We first feed our soul listening to the words of the Gospel, and our being with the Holy Communion, and only afterwards we may have the common meal. This is the order: first the soul which has eternal value, having been created in the image of the Eternal God, and the body afterwards”, informs Trinitas Radio station.

“We have two sorts of gifts. There are, first of all the permanent gifts which are the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist, because when the bread and wine are turned into the Body and Blood of the Lord we receive heavenly gifts; and then, there are the temporary gifts, such as the daily food, which are also gifts of God which we must receive with prayer and thanksgiving. The Saviour shows this by the very fact that before multiplying the loaves and the fish He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke them. Here we have an anticipation of the Holy Eucharist. So, Jesus Christ blesses the gifts brought to Him with His prayers and then breaks and gives them to the disciples, and the disciples to the crowd. So, we understand that the wonder of the multiplication of the loaves is also related, through a deeper meaning, to the Holy Eucharist. We bring the gifts of bread and wine to the Holy Eucharist, a part of them used for the Holy Eucharist, while the other ones are shared as Eucharist bread”, also said His Beatitude.

The Patriarch of Romania has also spoken about the Eucharist and social-philanthropic dimension found in the wonder mentioned in today’s pericope: “Today’s Gospel shows us on one hand that we are called to feed our soul with spiritual food, and on the other hand, to help the hungry ones, the sick and the helpless.

Thus, the mystery of the Holy Altar unites us with the mystery of the needy brother who needs the love of the generous one. Thus, we see how the wonder of the multiplication of the loaves and fish in the desert becomes a spiritual programme of our life, of the entire Church and of every separate Christian.

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel mentioned that in three days time, the Orthodox faithful begin the fasting of the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God. During the two fasting weeks His Beatitude urges us to purify our senses and increase our good deeds. Having been the icon and protector of all Christians, merciful and prompt helper, she becomes especially during this period of fasting a great help for the Christian life. We must read the prayers dedicated to her and intensify the merciful deeds. If we fast and do not give presents to the poor, our fasting is not complete. Fasting must be united with prayer and mercy.


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