Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

7/9/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Jesus asked the disciples a simple question: what do you have? The disciples 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, five loaves and two fish, to manifest the manna of heaven. He still does.

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 limited perspective - they did not see how they  could feed these hungry people, even with two hundred days wages. They did not see the situation with the eyes of living faith. They did not receive the people as a gift. 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 - and the people in need - as a problem. They approached it all through a lens of economic scarcity. Jesus understood the economy of heaven.
The question He asks of all of us today is - do we?

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/9/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Common Good, miracles, multiplication of the loaves, mission, manna, bread, economics, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish 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 carries the theme I seek to focus upon in this article. That is why I offer it below for your reflection and prayer. It reveals the ongoing impact of the miracle and connects the miracle with the experience of the apostles immediately following the event. 

"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 limited perspective - they did not see how they  could feed these hungry people, even with two hundred days wages.

They did not see the situation with the eyes of living faith. They did not receive the people as a gift.

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 - and the people in need - as a problem. They approached it all 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?" The disciples 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, five loaves and two 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. It was 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 one of the many reasons why this lesson is so vitally important to learn. 

The disciples needed to "understand about the loaves"- and so do we. In fact, we need to learn to live the miracle in our own daily lives. 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? 

Like the disciples, we are invited to live our lives now in and with the Lord.  He has been raised from the dead and continues His work in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. 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 with us.

We will also come to experience authentic peace, even in apparent turmoil, as 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".

In addition, we will learn how to live our lives in the economy of heavenly scale. Jesus simply asks us to take the goods which we have been given - whether they be financial, spiritual, practical, relational or the gifts entrusted to us - and place them in His Holy Hands. They are all gifts to be given. There, they will be multiplied and given back to feed the crowds. Always with more than enough left over to provide for every one of our own needs.

St Joemaria Escriva wrote these insightful words in The Forge:

Our Lord wants to make us co-redeemers with him.  That is why to help us understand this marvel, he moves the evangelists to tell us of so many great wonders. He could have produced bread from anything... but he doesn't! He looks for human co-operation: he needs a child, a boy, a few pieces of bread and some fish.  He needs you and me: and he is God! This should move us to be generous in our corresponding with his grace.

If you help him, even with a trifle, as the Apostles did, He is ready to work miracles; to multiply the bread, to reform wills, to give light to the most benighted minds, to enable those who have never been upright to be so, with an extraordinary grace.  All this he will do... and more, if you will help him with what you have. (The Forge 674,675)


We are invited to learn to understand the loaves today. Living faith can open our eyes to see all of life differently and participate in the continuing miracle.

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Universal:
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.



Comments


More U.S.

Lazy, spoiled, craven millenials claim the Christian cross is hate speech and other ridiculousness Watch

Image of Shown: various forms of hate speech.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The safest thing to say about a safe space is that they've gone too far. Today's college students want safe-spaces, gun-free zones, and to be coddled in every way. As a result, we're producing a generation of weak, adult-age children who cannot think or do anything for ... continue reading


Obama KNEW Clinton was on a private server, used a fake name in his emails Watch

Image of Obama has no excuse. He should have known what Clinton was doing. Why the pseudonym?

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Here may be the real reason Hillary Clinton was never indicted by the Obama administration. Obama was in on Clinton's email scandal from the start. According to new emails released by the FBI, Obama spoke with Clinton on her private server, but used a pseudonym to ... continue reading


Learning Holy Courage and Living Faith from the Book of Job Watch

Image of Job and his accusing friends

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Job did not follow God just because He was so good to him, but because He is God. So should we. When we encounter the inevitability of loss, suffering, difficulties and persecution in our lives, as we certainly will, we should beware of the fairweather friends of ... continue reading


Historic Statement Affirms the Catholic Church's Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality Watch

Image of

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A small body of Catholic scholars and religious have issued a statement dissenting from the teaching of the Catholic Church on the gift of sexuality, marriage and contraception. The statement was issued by the "Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research" and calls on ... continue reading


Major relic of St. Padre Pio in the United States Watch

Image of Padre Pio.

By Mary Rezac (CNA/EWTN News)

The Capuchin keepers of the relics of the late mystic Padre Pio are sending the saint's heart to Boston for his feast day. Boston, MA (CNA/EWTN News) - "I'm very excited to announce that the Capuchin Friars who run the Shrine of St. Padre Pio have offered to come to ... continue reading


Summit Declaration: Use These Principles to Compare Candidates and Platforms in the Upcoming Elections

Image of American Flag and Bible

By THE STREAM

The Church is the light of truth and the salt that preserves society. We realize that the state of our country now is partly our responsibility. If America is troubled, it means that we have failed to waken it to the principles that could grant it peace and ... continue reading


Protests in Charlotte, N.C. turn violent - It's time for a change in attitudes Watch

Image of Maybe pull your pants up first?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Protesters ran riot in downtown Charlotte, NC on Wednesday night, as they vented frustration over the killing of a disabled man by police. Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police on Tuesday. Police say he had a gun, while others contend the police mistook a ... continue reading


The case for Biblical justice in America - It's time to put God back into America Watch

Image of What has happened to America? George Washington would be disappointed.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We need Biblical justice back in America. The Bible tells us how to be and how we can build a fair and equitable society that reflects the many blessings of God we have already received. We all deserve justice, but today nobody is getting any. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


We Are the Mother and Brothers of Jesus Watch

Image of Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. We are the mother and brother and sister of Jesus

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. When we choose to be obedient to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of the "family" of God; ... continue reading


Terror over the weekend - stabbings, bombings and several IEDs discovered in US cities Watch

Image of Homeland Security ups its efforts to keep future attacks from occurring.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two attacks were conducted and one dangerous threat was detected over the weekend in three separate cities across the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In Minnesota, a man walked casually into a mall then proceeded to stab nine people.Each of the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
9 While I was watching, thrones were set in place and one most venerable ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, for you have ... Read More

Gospel, John 1:47-51
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, 'There, truly, is an ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 29th, 2016 Image

St. Michael the Archangel
September 29: Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but ... Read More