The Feeding of the 5,000

The Feeding of the 5,000

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time


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The Feeding of the 5,000

Picture courtesy of

Today our Gospel reading is the feeding of the more than 5,000 which is one of the events that is recorded in all four of the Gospels. In fact Jesus fed the crowds of thousands that fol-lowed him more than once. I say more than 5,000 because it numbers the men at around 5,000 but may have been more than double that size, with women and children. He fed them all with 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish.

In our Old Testament reading we see that God did the same thing through the prophet Elisha on a slightly smaller scale. So Jesus knew well in advance that his Father was capable of doing so, and we know this also. But there is more than one lesson here.

Firstly both miracles were achieved because someone, was willing to give what he had to God. In Elisha's case. a man from Baal-shalishah gave a sack of corn and in Jesus case it was an even smaller offering, a small boy offered Jesus his lunch, 5 loaves and 2 small fish, but as we read recently in the story of the widow's mite, it is not the size of the offering that counts, but the boy was giving to Jesus his entire lunch. In both cases that offering was taken and a blessing prayed over it and it went far further than the laws of physics allow. When you give something to the Kingdom of God, it is no longer under the world’s rules but now belongs to the Kingdom and economics in the Kingdom work completely differently. Think about that in relation to your finances for a few moments.

Secondly God provides for his children – one of the lines in Psalm 145 at Lauds (Breakfast), gives us the promise.

The eyes of all look to you O Lord:
and you give them their food in due season.– Psalm 145:15

God is the God who provides for us. We who are his children, just have to trust and obey Him. In the Old Testament reading he is providing for his obedient children – the prophets. But in the case of Jesus feeding of the more than 5,000 it is a little different, why did Jesus feed the crowd of sinners and curiosity seekers, trailing after him looking to see a miracle?

Jesus heart was moved with love and compassion for the multitude, imprisoned by their sin, the miracles were mostly his healing of the sick, which again came from God’s merciful and compassionate heart. But also got the attention of the crowd so that they would then listen to what He was trying to plant in their hearts. Jesus showed that God understands that you need to treat the whole person, we need physical food as much as we need spiritual food and he provided both because God loves all of us, the sinners as much as the saints, he longs to bless us all, like every good Father longs to give good things to his children, but too often sinners choose to reject his blessing and refuse his help.