The Feeding of Four Thousand

Matthew 15: 29-37
Is 25: 6-10 / Ps 23: 1- 6

He gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples…
(Matthew 15:36)

Lord, You provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wine**;
You multiply Your disciples,
As we partake Your Bread divine.

Moving on from there, Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee went up on a mountainside and sat down there. Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet; and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.’ His disciples answered, ‘Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?’ ‘How many loaves do you have?’ Jesus asked. ‘Seven,’ they replied, ‘and a few small fish.’ He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterwards the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Those who ate were four thousand, not including women and children. (Matthew 15:29-37)

Reflection

We find in this chapter of Matthew’s Gospel that on two occasions our Lord Jesus fed thousands of hungry people who followed Him for healing and conversion. Why did He perform this miracle of the multiplication of bread twice? On the surface, it would appear to be a good ‘marketing strategy’ for attracting the multitudes to Himself to hear His Good News of salvation. Freebies always attract thousands, saving Jesus and His apostles the time and trouble of visiting all the villages and towns in Galilee.

But there were more important reasons for these miracles of nourishment. First of all, as a mark of God’s unfailing kindness, Jesus always used His powers to serve the people in their times of need. Secondly, Jesus, Who called Himself the Bread of Life, (Jn.6:35) wanted to emphasize to all who would listen (and read) that He is the vital link between the Old Testament, when manna from heaven saved the Israelites in the desert, and the modern Church today, wherein millions of Christians receive Him daily in the Holy Eucharist.

Receiving Jesus as often as we can in the holy Mass has made us realize that we can also be involved in another miracle of multiplication – that is, in every good deed that we perform, especially during this season of giving. Every act of kindness that we extend is like a living bread that replicates itself in the hearts of others who receive it. In fact, the best Christmas gift that we can give to the Celebrant is to make a pledge that henceforth, we will seize the moment to do good whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself.

Lord Jesus, Your Living Bread has enriched our life. May every good deed that we do multiply Your presence in the hearts of men, especially those whom we touch with Your Living Word. Amen.

 


** Isaiah 25:6

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