GOSPEL READING: Mark 6:34-44
34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late; 36 send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
Meditation: Nothing can satisfy the deepest longing and desire of the heart – except God alone. Do you believe that is true? Of all the miracles Jesus did, the multiplication of loaves and fishes is the only one which is repeated in all four Gospels. A great crowd of people had gathered to hear Jesus because they were hungry for God’s word. Jesus’ disciples had wanted to send the crowd away at the end of the day because they did not have the resources to feed them. They even complained how much money it would take to feed such a large crowd – at least six month’s wages!
Jesus satisfies our hunger – both physically and spiritually
Jesus did the unthinkable. He took the little food they had – only five loaves and two fish – and giving thanks to his Father in heaven, he blessed and distributed this meager portion to the vast crowd. To the amazement of all, there was more than enough food for everyone present. And they ate until there were satisfied of their hunger. The twelve disciples took up what was left over – twelve baskets full of fish and loaves – so that nothing would be wasted.
Jesus is the true bread of heaven – which produces abundant life
What is the significance of this miracle? The miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel under Moses’ leadership. This food foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers. Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience.
The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. When God gives – he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves so that we may have something to share with others as well, especially those who lack what they need. God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others. Do you trust in God’s provision for your life and do you freely share what you have with others, especially those who lack what they need?
Lord Jesus Christ, you satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts and you feed us with the finest of wheat (Psalm 81:16). Fill me with gratitude for your blessings and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others what you have given to me.
1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor!
7 In his days may righteousness flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The Lord fills all things with blessing from above, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
“So that by every means the Lord might be known to be God by nature, he multiplies what is little, and he looks up to heaven as though asking for the blessing from above. Now he does this out of the divine economy, for our sakes. For he himself is the one who fills all things, the true blessing from above and from the Father. But, so that we might learn that when we are in charge of the table and are preparing to break the loaves, we ought to bring them to God with hands upraised and bring down upon them the blessing from above, he became for us the beginning and pattern and way.” (excerpt from FRAGMENT 177)