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Matthew 14:13-21

The Word of God

Now when Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said to them, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. 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, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus withdraws to be by himself. His need is for safety and time alone. This was his need but the people asked more of him. They didn’t ask for food, they wanted him, his presence and healing. He in turn didn’t want the crowd to have to go away and suggested a solution to the situation.
    • Reflect on a time in your life when you really desired to know the Lord’s presence with you more than anything else. How did the Lord respond? How does the Lord continue to nourish you?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This is the only miracle that is reported by all the four gospels, because of its obvious link to the Eucharist. The verbs used in this episode– taking the loaves and fishes, he looked up to heaven, blessed, broke, and gave to his disciples - are the same as those we find in the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist and which we repeat at every mass. This miracle shares other characteristics with the Eucharist: it happens within a community; it is the transformation of humble elements into what satisfies us, and it is a sign of God’s abundant gifts. Yet the Eucharistic gift is immeasurably greater: it is the body and blood of Christ himself. I stand in awe of this great gift and ask for the grace to be grateful and to enter more deeply into this great mystery.
    • And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full, much more than there was at the beginning. This reminds us of the abundance of wine at the wedding of Cana, and of so much of God’s dealing with us, with me: he always beats us at generosity, he promises us a hundredfold.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • In this gospel we can see how God takes care of his people. We can read the feeding in two ways. On the one hand, we can simply take it as a miraculous event, pointing to the divine origins of Jesus. On the other hand, we can see that once the disciples began to share the little food they had with those around, it triggered a similar movement among the crowd, many of whom had actually brought some food with them. When everyone shared, everyone had enough. A picture of the kind of society the Church should stand for.
    • Where in my life are there opportunities to “share my food” so others will have enough?
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This is the only miracle that is reported by all the four gospels, because the link to the Eucharist is obvious. The verbs used at the end of this miracle to describe what Jesus did with the bread are repeated at every mass. The Eucharist has the same characteristics of this miracle: the community, the transformation of humble elements into what satisfies us and is a sign of God’s abundant gifts. Yet the gift is immeasurably greater: it is the body and blood of Christ. I stand in awe of this great gift, and ask for the grace to be grateful and to enter more deeply into this great mystery.
    • This great miracle took place at the most unlikely moment: at the end of the day, when it was time to return home, when the disciples realised they had only five loaves and two fishes. Yet Jesus asked his disciples and his hearers to trust him, to “sit down” on the grass as if they were not in any hurry. Those who trusted got more than they needed. I look back on some moments when I too experienced God’s generosity in my life, and I ask to know how to “sit down” in trust in the moment of crisis.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This is a marvellous scene and we should pay close attention to the persons, what they say and what they do. How do we imagine the crowd reacted? What impact did this incident make on their lives? Do you think their participation in this event changed them?
    • Reflect and pray about the fact that this wonder is a sign of a greater wonder of the Eucharistic meal in which he gives us himself.