The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What can satisfy the deepest hunger and longing of the human heart? Isaiah prophesied that God would provide a heavenly banquet for all peoples and would destroy death once and for all (Isaiah 25:6-8). Jesus came to fulfill that promise. Jesus’ miracles are both a sign of God’s kingdom and a demonstration of God’s power. They also show the magnitude of God’s mercy.
When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? The Israelites were confronted with the same dilemma when they fled Egypt and found themselves in a barren wilderness. Like the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness, Jesus, himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek him. The gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover.
In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. God knows our needs and he cares. When God gives, he gives in abundance. The gospel account records that the leftovers from the miraculous meal was more than seven times the amount they began with. Seven is a symbol of completion and wholeness. When God gives, he gives until we are satisfied. When God works for his people he gives abundantly – more than we could deserve and more than we need. He nourishes us with his life-giving word and with the bread of heaven. In the kingdom of heaven God will feast us at his banquet table. Are you satisfied with God’s provision for you? And do you long with expectant hope for the coming of his kingdom in all its fulness?
Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the longing and hunger in our hearts. May I thirst for your kingdom and find joy in your presence. Give me the true bread of heaven and nourish me with your life-giving word.”
THE MIRACLE BEFORE MULTIPLICATION
Jesus “took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. All ate until they were full.” —Matthew 15:36-37
In recent times, some preachers have attempted to explain away the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Contrary to the six texts of this passage and the supporting contexts in the New Testament, these preachers speculate that Jesus did not do a miracle but merely inspired people to share their lunches.
This novel speculation appeals to people who live in the affluent parts of the world and who assume that miracles are impossible since these don’t compute in a secular humanistic culture of death. Of course, such speculation appeals to people who have not seen miracles in their lives, especially the miracle of multiplication. We naturally and illogically reason that if something hasn’t happened to us, it doesn’t happen.
The miracle of the multiplication of loaves, fish, time, money, resources, or energy is based on another miracle: the total giving of ourselves to the Lord. Ninety-nine percent doesn’t get multiplied, only 100%. Consequently, our denial of this miracle because we have not experienced it may tell us more about ourselves than about the Bible. Our problem with the miracle of multiplication may be a telltale sign that we have not accepted Jesus as our Lord, our God, and our All. We may be involved in a lukewarm, minimalistic aberration of Christianity.
Be a miracle. Give Jesus all. See miracles. Believe in miracles, especially the miracle of multiplication.
Prayer: Father, give me the miracle of giving You all. Promise: “On this mountain He will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; He will destroy death forever.” —Is 25:7-8 Praise: Robert refused a promotion which would have required him to spend much time away from his family.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements