The Feeding of the Five Thousand
Somebody had said that surely, life means more than food and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky (Matthew 6:26).
Today’s gospel is the account of the feeding of Jesus of the five thousand. This feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. In this sense what is the significance of this miracle? This feeding of the five thousand strongly echoes that Exodus event which took place more than twelve centuries ago before Jesus has performed this miracle. The Book of Exodus (16:14) reported: “The Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day’”. Bread was the staple or basic food of people during Jesus’ time (rice for Filipinos).
In other words, Jesus puts human need ahead of everything else. His compassion shows the depths of God’s love and concern for all who are truly in need. He spiritually feeds the people of God by giving them God’s word. He physically feeds them also by giving them bread to satisfy their hunger for food. And so we can never intrude upon God nor exhaust his generosity and kindness. God’s generosity and kindness is always overflowing. He is ever ready to give to those who earnestly seek him out. God will provide.
In relation to what I had said awhile ago, I will tell you this story about this lay cooperator who was very dedicated to his work as a lay worker in one of the parishes of the Diocese of Marbel. He was very poor. One day, the carabao that he owned and helped him plowed the rice field, died. He had ten children and this means his children would be without food. His wife asked him: “What will we do now?” I cannot tell,” he said, “but I know what God will do. We must have food for our children and God will provide for us.”
The next morning, the parish priest brought P 1,500.00 as his financial support for his daughter’s hospitalization. It was because his daughter got a fever a day before his carabao died. Even if this lay cooperator did not ask any support from the parish. A few days later, the parish social action, donated P 1,000.00 for the same reason because he solicited from this ministry. He was a member of a farmer’s organization and so the group decided to give P 2,500.00 as their support too. And so all in all, he had P 5,000.00 enough to buy a one-year old carabao. These people knew nothing about the death of his carabao but God knew.
And so at the end let us also reflect these words coming from St. Augustine: “For, if the providence of God does not preside over human affairs, there is no point in busying oneself about religion.”