Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature, Saturday 16 February 2019
Gospel: Mark 8:1-10
In Jesus’ concern there are two important things: people forget home and food and follow Jesus to the desert! Jesus aroused great sympathy, up to the point that people followed Him into the desert and remained with Him three days! Jesus does not ask to solve the problem. He only expresses His concern to the disciples and it seems to be a problem without a solution.
The disciples then think of a traditional solution: someone had to bring bread, someone has to find the money, buy bread and distribute it. They themselves perceive that, in that desert, to buy bread, this solution is not possible, but they see no other possibility. That is, if Jesus insists in not sending the people back to their homes, there will be no way to feed them!
As in the first multiplication, the way in which Mark describes Jesus’ attitude, recalls the Eucharist. The message is this: participation in the Eucharist should lead to the gift and to the sharing of bread. This was an unexpected solution, which began within the people, with the few loaves of bread that they had brought! In the first multiplication, twelve baskets of bread were left over; here, seven. In the first one, they served five thousand people. Here four thousand. In the first one there were five loaves of bread and two fish. Here, seven loaves of bread and a few fish.
The disciples thought one way, Jesus thinks in another way. In the way of thinking of the disciples there is the dominant ideology, the common way of thinking of people. Jesus thinks in a different way. It is not by going with Jesus and living in a community that a person is already a saint and renewed. Among the disciples, the old mentality always emerges again, because had profound roots in the life. The conversion requested by Jesus is a deep conversion. He wants to uproot the various types of leaven.