Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

7/9/2014 (10 months 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 (10 months 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

MASSIVE OIL SPILL: Santa Barbara declares state of emergency over massive oil spill in Pacific Ocean Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

About 9 miles of the Pacific ocean, across a popular spot on the California coast, was damaged after a pipeline leaked massive amounts of oil in the water earlier this week.     MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to officials, up to ... continue reading


UC Santa Barbara massacre survivor speaks on the day's events and his journey to recovery Watch

Image of www.thisischriswhite.com

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The fateful night of May 23, 2014, Antoine Cherchian managed to survive being shot by the virgin killer, Elliot Rodger, during his killing spree at UC Santa Barbara. While Cherchian sustained fatal injuries, along with six other students murdered, he is thankful for ... continue reading


Crackdown by federal agents on 'Pill Mills' in four southern states Watch

Image of An average of 44 people in the U.S. dies every day from opioids. These drugs include Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Drug Enforcement Administration and other authorities are raiding pharmacies, pain clinics and other facilities in four southern U.S. states. It is all part of an aggressive crackdown on prescription pain drug abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Matt C. Abbott: Why I wrote Pope Francis about an exorcist

Image of Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of Robbie, the teenaged boy whose case inspired William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist, which subsequently was made into a feature film.

By Matt C. Abbott

Here's one name I haven't heard mentioned in regard to possible canonization, yet it seems he'd be a good candidate: Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern, who was born in 1897 and died in 1983, was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of "Robbie," ... continue reading


FBI lectures High school students on resisting ISIS recruitment Watch

Image of The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

High school students at Bergen County School, in Bergen County, New Jersey got a surprise lecture from FBI agents. They warned students away from sophisticated new techniques used by Islamic State to join their ranks. In particular, a new ISIS-produced video ... continue reading


Bin Laden's secret files: What we found and what's been released Watch

Image of The U.S. Department of National Intelligence has released a report of documents that were captured during the May 1, 2011 raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has begun declassifying and releasing documents that were captured during the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, and some of what has been released shows that America's number one enemy for almost a decade was obsessed with ... continue reading


Are there weapons aboard? U.S. Air Force space shuttle's secret contents no longer a secret Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space shuttle, launched into Earth's orbit, was revealed not to contain weapons as many feared. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the published manifest, the space shuttle carries a new form of Hall ion-powered ... continue reading


Catholic University removes insensitive mural honoring convicted killer Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marquette University in Wisconsin has officially taken down a mural of Assata Shakur, one of the FBI's most wanted. Shakur was convicted of killing a state trooper in New Jersey before fleeing to Cuba in 1973. The Catholic university's authorities were warned of the ... continue reading


As John Wayne would say, YO! America's biggest ranch up for sale for $725 million Watch

Image of  The Waggoner Ranch includes the 510,000-acre ranch spread over six North Texas counties, with two main compounds, hundreds of homes, about 20 cowboy camps, hundreds of quarter horses, thousands of heads of cattle, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Waggoner Ranch, America's biggest ranch stretches over 510,000 continuous acres, or 796 square miles, making it a plot of land bigger than the island of Oahu and New York City. It is up for sale for $725 million. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Realtors are hoping ... continue reading


See what is REALLY killing Americans with macabre 'Death Map' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While heart disease and cancer are the most common killers in the United States, a new map proves that these causes vary from state to state. Said "Death Map" shows the most distinctive cause of death, which is the rate higher than the national average. LOS ... 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, Acts 28:16-20, 30-31
16 On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 11:4, 5, 7
4 Yahweh in his holy temple! Yahweh, his throne is in ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:20-25
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 23rd, 2015 Image

St. John Baptist Rossi
May 23: This holy priest was born in 1698 at the village of Voltaggio in ... 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