The Church has chosen for the Gospel the account of the multiplication of the loaves, a type of the Eucharist, our viaticum.
It is this second multiplication of loaves which is a more striking figure of the Eucharist, since it was performed with loaves made of wheat, the element used in the Sacrament, while in the first, barley loaves were employed.
By identifying us with the Victim of Calvary, Holy Communion not only completes the effects of baptism within us by making us die with our Lord to sin, but makes us find at the Holy Altar the strength we need to prevent us from falling back into sin and to "perfect our goings in the paths" of the Lord (Offertory).
It is in this sense that St. Ambrose comments thus on the Gospel: "After the woman, a figure of the Church, was cured of the issue of blood, the food of heavenly grace was dispensed. The right order of the mystery was kept. First a medicine is provided to cure wounds by the remission of sins, and then the food of the heavenly table is served in abundance. Our Lord said: "If I shall send them away fasting to their home they will faint by the way." Full of goodness, He maintains the strength of those who follow Him. If anyone faint it is not our Lord's fault, but that of the man himself.
Christ has set within us fortifying agencies; the food He gives is strength and vigor, so, if through negligence, you have lost the strength you received, you must not blame the heavenly nourishment, which never fails, but rather yourself. Was it not through the sustenance given him, when he was about to fall by the way, that the holy Elias walked forty days after the angel's visit?