The Multiplication of Bread

Matthew 15: 29-37
Isa 25: 6-10 / Psa 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.

Jesus left from there and went along the shore of Lake Galilee. Then he went up into the hills where He sat down. 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 praised the God of Israel. Jesus called His disciples to Him 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?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven, 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 who distributed them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the leftover pieces they collected filled seven wicker baskets. (Matthew 15:29-37)

Reflection

We find in this chapter of Matthew’s Gospel how our Lord 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 ‘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. Every act of kindness is like a living bread that replicates itself in the hearts of others who receive it. This season of Advent calls us to participate in sharing the joy of the Christmas spirit with the least of God’s children. Members of our BCBP chapter gladly contributed to this opportunity by sponsoring one hundred lunch packs for the inmates of Davao city penitentiary, where the “Days with the Lord” brothers will hold a Christmas mini concert on December 16. We learned that there are more than 300 of our brothers in detention so we still need more donations. But like today’s parable shows, God will make a way to satisfy all the hungry.

Jesus, our Living Bread, 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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