After Jesus had crossed the Sea of Galilee, a large crowd followed him, because they knew he had healed many sick people. Jesus climbed a mountain with his disciples, and he could see that the crowd had gotten very large.
Jesus could see that the people were hungry, the men, women and children. He said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Philip just shook his head and said, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little (bit).”
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Jesus, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are they for so many?”
Jesus told his disciples, “Have the people recline.” There was a large, grassy field that was clear and flat enough for all of the people, which numbered about 5,000.
Jesus took the food that the boy had, said a prayer of thanks and had his disciples start passing out the bread and fish. As Jesus gave them food, they walked through the crowd and gave it to anyone who wanted, as much as they were able to eat.
When the disciples finished, there was enough food for everyone and there were still uneaten portions. Then Jesus said, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”
The disciples did as Jesus asked and went around with baskets to collect anything that had not been eaten. It took them quite a while to gather the food, but they filled 12 of their baskets with what they had picked up.
The crowd was amazed that Jesus had fed them all to their fill, with food left over, yet he had brought no food with him. There was only the bread and fish provided by the boy.
“This is truly the Prophet,” they said, “the one who is to come into the world.” Jesus knew that the crowd would have liked to pick him up and carry him off to declare him a king, but he did not want that to happen. He quietly slipped away, hiding behind his disciples, and he left them to climb higher up the mountain where he could be alone.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. How much food did the boy have?
2. How many people were fed?
Jesus was always concerned about the needs of the people who came to hear him preach. He fed the crowd with only a few fish and five loaves of bread.
But there are other stories in the Bible where hungry people were fed, because God was watching over them. Probably the most well-known example is when God sent manna from heaven when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness on their way to the promised land. When Elijah was hungry, ravens brought him bread and meat (1 Kings 17). Psalm 146 says, “The Lord … who made heaven and earth … gives food to the hungry.” But there is one type of hunger God wants us to have, and which Jesus said comes with a reward.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (from Matthew 5). We should always pray that God sends “our daily bread” to our families and to every family.
St. Bartholomea (1807-1833) was born near the Italian Alps. Although her father was an alcoholic with little education, her mother set an example as a good Christian woman. Bartholomea attended a school run by nuns, and she was encouraged by her teachers and her mother to strive to be a faithful follower of the teachings of the church. She realized the value of the education she had received, and she studied until she earned a teaching certificate. She founded a religious guild of St. Aloysius so she could teach young people. Eventually she combined her work with that of Catherine Gerosa, who was a nurse. Bartholomea accomplished these achievements before her death at the young age of 26. She devoted her life to the professions of nursing and teaching, and she brought many students into those fields to carry on the work she started. We remember her on July 26.