Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As I have aged I have come to understand how wonderfully interwoven the Lord's message to us becomes in the stuff of our daily lives - when we have the eyes of living faith with which to see it and the ears open to hear Him speaking to us

In His Sacred Humanity, Jesus was moved with compassion for the crowd. The Greek root of the word for compassion means to suffer with. The disciples viewed the matter as a problem. They approached it through a lens of economic scarcity. Jesus understood the economy of heaven. The question He asks of all of us today is - do we? Jesus asked the disciples a simple question: "what do you have?" They did not understand. They had been invited to participate in God's work by simply giving what they had in a Holy Exchange. When they finally did, Jesus used the matter given by men, loaves and fish, to manifest the manna of heaven. He still does.

The multiplication of the loaves

The multiplication of the loaves

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: miracle of the loavs, multiplication of the loaves, loaves and fish, economy of heavenly scale, living faith, Advent, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE,VA (Catholic Online) - It is my birthday; the last year of my fifth decade on this earth. As I have aged I have come to understand how wonderfully interwoven the Lord's message to us becomes in the stuff of our daily lives - when we have the eyes of living faith with which to see it and the ears open to hear Him speaking to us. I just read the Gospel of the day at Holy Mass, the account of the miracle of the loaves in the Gospel of St Matthew:

At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.  The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said, "My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way." The disciples said to him, "Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?" Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" "Seven," they replied, "and a few fish."

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied.  They picked up the fragments left over-seven baskets full. (Matt. 15:29-37)

The miracle is recorded in all four gospels, emphasizing its significance. As is often the case, each of the four evangelists focuses on a particular aspect of the miracle in order to emphasize for the reader the significance and implication of the event in their own lives. St. Mark's account, set forth below, shows us its ongoing nature as it connects the miracle with the experience of the apostles immediately following the event in a way which is instructive for our own lives:  

People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat. 
 
He said to them in reply, "Give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Are we to buy two hundred days' wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?" He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out they said, "Five loaves and two fish." So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to (his) disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish.  Those who ate (of the loaves) were five thousand men. Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. (St. Mark 6:31-52)

During this account of the miracle in Mark's Gospel we are told that the disciples had encouraged Jesus to dismiss the crowd because - from their perspective - they simply could not feed these hungry people, even with two hundred days wages. They did not see the situation with the eyes of living faith. However, Jesus did - and He wants all who bear His name to learn to walk by the light of that same faith. He gives us the grace to do so, right now.  

In His Sacred Humanity, Jesus was moved with compassion for the crowd. The Greek root of the word for compassion means to suffer with. The disciples viewed the matter as a problem. They approached it through a lens of economic scarcity. Jesus understood the economy of heaven. The question He asks of all of us today is - do we?

Jesus asked the disciples a simple question: "what do you have?" They did not understand. They had been invited to participate in God's work by simply giving what they had in a Holy Exchange. When they finally did, Jesus used the matter given by men, loaves and fish, to manifest the manna of heaven. He still does.

The next day the instruction and the experience continued. We find them in the boat fishing. We find Jesus praying. Their placement in the boat in the story was a favorite image for the early church fathers, seen as a figure of the ark of the Old Covenant and the ark of the New Covenant, which is the Church. It is this Church, this communion of persons joined in Jesus through Baptism, which He came to found and over which He would later install these men in apostolic office. It is this Church, of which we are members, which continues His redemptive mission until He returns.

That is why this lesson is so vitally important. The disciples needed to understand about the loaves- and so do we. This kind of understanding only comes from communion with the Father, in the Son, through the Spirit. It is the fruit of a living, dynamic and authentic faith. Jesus invited the disciples to believe that when they have Him, they have everything. Yet, here in a storm, they fled to the familiar, the fear of the circumstances. So powerful were their fears that they prevented them from even recognizing God Incarnate as He passed right before them! They thought He was a ghost!

How crippling our own fears can become when we do not commune in prayer but rely on ourselves and our mere human effort. They had not understood about the loaves. Do we?  We will live the way we love. Like the disciples, we are invited to live our lives now in the Lord.  Faith is a light that is meant to preside over our entire lives, even during those storms that inevitably come. When it does, we will see Jesus right there in the midst of the storm. We will come to experience authentic peace, even in apparent turmoil and we learn to navigate the waters of daily life.

The Lord heard the cry of the poor as it issued from the mouths of his own disciples and He spoke these beautiful words: Take Courage it is I: Don't Be Afraid. We need to hear these words and learn to understand the loaves. Then, we need to let that understanding inform our daily lives. That understanding will open our eyes to see all of life differently. We can participate in the continuing miracle, beginning right now. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Hurricane Katrina: Ten Years Later Watch

Image of Hurricane Katrina tore communities apart.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hurricane Katrina left nearly 2,000 people dead and thousands more were homeless and wounded. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused America's most expensive natural disaster, with a repair bill of $150 billion. Entire roads were washed ... continue reading


PASTORPOCALYPSE - At least 400 church leaders to RESIGN Sunday after Ashley Madison accounts revealed Watch

Image of At least 400 pastors are expected to resign this Sunday.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This Sunday could be a distressing day for millions of churchgoers across the country. As many as 400 pastors, some of them leading megachurch congregations, may resign following the Ashley Madison leak. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hypocrisy can be found in ... continue reading


Christian man beaten to death by Muslim refugees in Maine Watch

Image of Freddy Akoa, the victim of a savage beating by three men.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An assumed Christian man was found dead in his apartment with a bloody Bible near his head. The murder is believed to have been committed by three Muslim refugees who attended a party at the dead man's home in Portland, Maine. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


'We're going to get through this together': WDBJ stands together the day after the tragic live-shooting of reporter and cameraman Watch

Image of Colleagues hug during the moment of silence for their fallen team members.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

WDBJ-TV station grieves the loss of Alison Parker and Adam Ward the morning after their on-air murders.  Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) - Thursday morning was emotional, as WDBJ-TV anchor Kim McBroom joined hands with anchor Steve Grand, who came in ... continue reading


Colorado movie theater assassin James Holmes will never step outside of a prison - ever Watch

Image of Obsessed with killing people since he was a teenager, James Holmes said he studied neuroscience in part to fix his own

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On July 20, 2012, James Eagan Holmes, now 27, walked into an Aurora, Colorado movie theater during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." He opened fire, killing 12 people and wounded 70. Holmes will never step outside a prison ever again - he was sentenced ... continue reading


Bizarre, twisted story trails behind Virginia TV reporter killer Vester Flanagan Watch

Image of Failed TV news anchor Vester Flanagan was notorious for his

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Stories have come forward regarding 41-year-old former TV news reporter Vester Flanagan, accused in the on-air shooting deaths of 24-year-old WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old camera operator Adam Ward. Flanagan, who committed suicide after the ... continue reading


Vatican did not consent to sponsor Palestinian flag initiative at United Nations Watch

Image of Only member states' flags are currently eligible to fly at U.N. headquarters.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems that certain parties leapt to conclusions too readily... The Vatican has requested that the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to the Holy See from a draft resolution. The Palestinians have put forth a formal request to the U.N. General Assembly ... continue reading


Now legal for police to fly drones armed with weapons in North Dakota Watch

Image of Police drone illustrating abilities to release tear gas from above.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the last-minute push of pro-police lobbyists, it is now legal for the North Dakora law enforcers to fly drones equipped with "less than lethal" weapons such as tasers, pepper spray and tear gas. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - During a hearing in ... continue reading


Catholic hospital forced to bow down before ALCU, will perform sterilization - religious freedom dying in the name of convenience Watch

Image of A Catholic hospital in Redding, CA has been forced to agree to perform a sterilization procedure.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ALCU has succeeded in forcing a Catholic hospital to perform a sterilization procedure in what is certainly a direct affront to religious freedom. More importantly, the case could be a predictor of how the larger issue of religious freedom will play out across the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 1:17-19
17 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 29th, 2015 Image

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know St. Sabina only ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter