Thoughts on Feeding of the Five Thousand
Researching the gospel reading: Feeding the 5,000, I learned that bible scholars say counting of the 5,000 were most likely just the men, but if we count the families that came with the men, Jesus fed closer to 15,000 to 20,000 people. Knowing that fact me makes me wondered even more about the little boy who had the fish and bread.
Why did Jesus decided to use a little child?
What was the child doing there?
Was he with family?
Was he planning to sell the loaves and fish to earn money for his family?
Andrew says, “There is a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good are these for so many?” Barley was a grain used but the lower class for baking.
So hardly enough to sell, maybe he was carrying the family’s lunch.
Was Andrew disgusted with such little food? Did he find the child in the way and a nuisance? In other bible accounts we hear about the disciples trying to keep the little ones from Jesus and Jesus calls them closer to him.
Did Jesus decide to use the child to show his disciples they could much with so little? Does Jesus want each of us to see ourselves as little ones and understand how important we are in the scheme of Jesus’ plans.
I was listening to Father Tony Taschetta preach on this gospel, and he said there was even a great miracle that took place while feeding the 5,000. That caught my attention. I wondered what had I not heard about yet? Father Tony went on to say Bible scholars say nowhere does the bible use the term multiplication of the loaves that is something we have added to describe what Jesus did.
The bible says Jesus was teaching the people, He had the people sit down on the grass, it even tells us there was a great amount of grass in this place. I love that detail. It reminds of the 23rd Psalm. Jesus took the loaves, blessed them and had his disciples distribute the bread to all the people. He did the same with the fish.
While they ate, he continued to teach them. Talk about a teachable moment! The great miracle may have been what Jesus was saying. He may have been talking about what he always was teaching and showing. Caring for and loving the poor. Sharing what we have and trusting God to provide. Share and God will pay you back a hundred-fold. As my dad used to say with a smile, “Just try to out give God.” I love that quote from my Dad, he would say it to us as kids and adults and then sometimes even giggle because he had learned in his life it didn’t matter to horde things for yourself because life was rich for all if you share from your belongs. And my dad did.
Jesus was once again teaching to people to share with those around them. Father Tony said there was never a Jew, who had lived in this harsh land as they had, who would not have brough some food with them when traveling out of town no matter how far them had to travel. So if the people listening to Jesus shared the meager food they had with them, everyone would have had enough and even had 12 baskets of leftovers. Jesus may have taken a teachable moment to show the people how to share with those around them and have food left over. I believe people sharing with those around them, that in itself, would have been a great miracle for the Maker of the stars and sand of the seashore, that to multiple a few loaves of bread!
Pope Francis said this year at the Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Christi:
“God knows how difficult it is, he knows how weak our memory is …
He did not just leave us words, for it is easy to forget what we hear.
He did not just leave us the Scriptures, for it is easy to forget what we read.
He did not just leave us signs, for we can forget even what we see.
He gave us Food, for it is not easy to forget something we have actually tasted.
He left us Bread in which he is truly present, alive and true, with all the flavour of his love.”
May we always remember the love and mercy Jesus shares with us as we taste from the Eucharist Banque table.
Things I can take from the Gospel of Feeding the 5,000:
- Jesus has compassion for all of us.
- Jesus uses other people to bless us.
- Jesus is big enough for anything we can imagine.
- Nothing we face, or fear or worry about or are anxious about is too big for Jesus.
- And finally, the greater miracle will be when we learn to share with others from what we have.
If Jesus can feed 20,000 people, can you imagine what Jesus can do if we simply share with those around us!