(I John 4:7-10; Mark 6:34-44)
It has been suggested that St. Luke portrays the infant Jesus as lying in a manger because he will one day give himself as food. As the manger serves as a feeder for farm animals, so it holds he who becomes the "Bread of Life" for his followers. The evangelist likely had more in mind than the Eucharist in relating the incident of the manger, but the observation does provide ample food for thought.
In any case, today’s Christmas season gospel relates Jesus feeding the mass of people with the meager offering of five loaves and two fish. The scene, narrated by each of the four evangelists, anticipates Jesus’ feeding his disciples with his body and blood at their farewell meal. The Father sent him precisely to demonstrate His immense love. Could any action be more significant than allowing oneself to be chewed up so that he may nourish his partakers?
We, of course, participate in the same agape feast. Through the Church Jesus’ offering is extended to us so that we might have the strength to follow in his ways.