Gospel Jn 6:1-15

“This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.”

Of all the miracle stories recorded in the Gospels, this story of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes is one that really captures our imagination, and not just because it is recounted in all four Gospels.

The scene is set so simply and effectively.

The people are following Jesus as they had witnessed his many healings and heard his profound and challenging teaching. They are so intrigued by this man that they follow him beyond the point where they are able to even meet their own basic needs.

When he sees them coming he recognises their need immediately – they will be hungry before long, and lo, there is nowhere nearby where they could purchase what they need, nor is there enough money around that would be able to pay for it.

This is not merely a miracle where Jesus somehow gets everyone to simply share what they already have. No, this is something truly miraculous. The gift of a small boy of five barely loaves and two fish was miraculously made to be enough for five thousand men, not mentioning the women and the children.

This is something worth considering – Jesus did not simply wave a magic wand and have food appear out of nowhere. No, instead he used what he had, and that was given him by the small boy.

We should remember this when we come up against our own troubles. Rarely have we needed to feed 5000+ people, but we do have our own struggles which are oftentimes insurmountable to our own efforts alone. It is in these times that we need to mimic the small boy in today’s Gospel who gave all that he had, but did not rely on his efforts alone.

Point to Ponder

On perceiving the problem of feeding so many hungry people, [the boy] shared the little he had brought with him: five loaves and two fish (cf. Jn 6:9). The miracle was not worked from nothing, but from a first modest sharing of what a simple lad had brought with him. Jesus does not ask us for what we do not have. Rather, he makes us see that if each person offers the little he has the miracle can always be repeated: God is capable of multiplying our small acts of love and making us share in his gift

Benedict XVI, Angelus Message 29 July 2012