Servant of God Joseph De Piro – reflections from his life and writings; 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 144(145):10-11,15-18; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15.

Reflection

In the coming weeks we will be reflecting on the sixth chapter of the gospel according to John. In this chapter Jesus first feeds a big crowd of five thousand (men), and then delivers a long discourse about being the bread of life.

In the Old Testament, Moses fed the People of Israel manna in the desert, after they left Egypt. The prophet Elisha, in today’s first reading, imitates Moses and feeds a hundred people with twenty loaves of bread (something that would have looked like small pitta-bread). In the gospel narrative we are told that Jesus is the new Moses. Like Moses he sits down and teaches his disciples, and like him, he also feeds the great crowd that gathers. Jesus’ miracle is much greater than the one performed by Elisha; with five loaves, Jesus feeds five thousand!

In the actions of Jesus taking the bread, blessing it, and handing it out to the people to eat, is a reflection of Jesus’ action at the Last Supper where he broke the bread with his disciples giving them his body and blood to eat and drink.

Further Reading

The Servant of God Joseph De Piro experienced Christ as the incarnate God – ‘God like us;’ the suffering God in solidarity with the poor – ‘God with us;’ the Eucharistic Jesus – ‘God in us;’ and the loving God with a heart that saves – ‘God for us.’

In his sermons Joseph De Piro used different expressions to indicate God’s love for humanity: “… the last moment consists in the most intimate union with us …,” “… in the Eucharist he is united to each one of us …,” “… that Jesus, of Bethlehem, of Nazareth … is within you; your heart beats are his heart beats …,” “… [this is what] Jesus does to be united with us …,” “… we have our God so close to us in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, not figuratively speaking, not as a shade, but in reality …,” “… a Father among his beloved sons, a shepherd among his sheep …,” “… Jesus decided to remain among us …,” “… in the Eucharist … our heart becomes one with the heart of Jesus, his Spirit is united to our spirit …,” “… Jesus within us …,” “… I am with you …,” “… Jesus … is always eager to be united with us.”

Other quotes speaking about Jesus who becomes personally one with us in the Eucharist are much longer to reproduce here.

(Sciberras, Anthony, A Journey of Love. Love Generates Love. A fertile Celibate Love, pp. 27-28.)