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The feeding of the five thousand

Gospel Reading: Mt 14:13-21

When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”

He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over – twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

REFLECTION Give tHem Some food yourselves
Jesus puts his disciples into a crisis when he asks them to feed the hungry crowds. He is not willing to send them away hungry; they have listened to him; he has cured their sick. Now it is the disciples’ turn to do something for the crowds. They, too, must show compassion to them. The disciples argue that they have nothing except five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.

Jesus asks for the bread and the fish, prays over them, says the blessing, and breaks the bread. Then he gives the bread to his disciples for distribution.

We cannot imagine how the bread is multiplied. We do not know what happens to the fish. But the disciples are able to give food to the crowds. They, too, show compassion for the people. They are not just Jesus’ disciples or his companions to protect him. They are empowered to do more.

Discipleship is not a matter of just listening to Jesus. It is also distributing the graces and blessings from Jesus to those whom he intends to give.

If you are a compassionate disciple, Jesus will give you something to distribute. You will not run out of supply.

Trust God and use your creativity.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.