John 6:1-15 Reflection: The Multiplication of Bread

A reading from the gospel according to John 6:1-15

1 After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee.
2 A large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he had done in curing the sick.
3 Jesus climbed the hillside and sat down there with his disciples.
4 The time of the Jewish Passover was near.
5 Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’
6 He said this only to put Philip to the test; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would not buy enough to give them a little piece each.’
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said,
9 ‘Here is a small boy with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that among so many?’
10 Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down.
11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were sitting there; he then did the same with the fish, distributing as much as they wanted.
12 When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.’
13 So they picked them up and filled twelve large baskets with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves.
14 Seeing the sign that he had done, the people said, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’
15 Jesus, as he realised they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, fled back to the hills alone.

Reflection: Multiplication and Sharing

Good News: God feeds the hungry!

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus did not like His listeners to go hungry. So He asked His apostles to go and buy something for the crowd to eat but there is a huge budget problem. Fortunately, a boy was willing to share his five loaves and two fish which Jesus blessed and “multiplied” and all had their fill. That’s not all, twelve baskets were filled with scraps left over.

What a miracle indeed! Our God is a God of multiplication. If He wills it, no one will starve. Our reading shows that Jesus is not concerned only with our spiritual needs but also with our physical necessities.

Yet, not a few commentators point out that if a boy brought with him food, most probably many people in the crowd also brought theirs. The miracle happened when they saw the generosity of the boy and everyone started sharing their packed lunch to those without food.

Indeed, the world has enough resources to feed the whole human race. The big problem is uneven distribution of wealth and the greed of a few. There are news reports of food items in some developed countries that go to waste year in and year out. Yet, millions of people in the less developed countries experience hunger and famine. Obviously, there is lack of mechanisms by which this problem can be solved now and in the near future.

Individually, there is much to be desired in the way we deal with the needy. May we look into our hearts and realize that our treasures are really not meant for us only but it is meant to be shared. When we practice sharing, expect miracles to happen just as Jesus had promised: Whatever we give will come back to us a thousand fold. (Luke 6:38)

P.S. “Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.” Every time you eat, try to finish your food and never waste anything. Let us help save planet earth by conserving food and other resources. Jesus is the foremost environmentalist.

Reflect on the phrase “overflowing grace”. In times of great want which can happen to anyone, do we still believe in the generosity of God?

Have you ever wondered where those “twelve large baskets” came from? Was it part of the miracle or somehow some women brought them? Let us remember that women are often the ones responsible for the kitchen. Have we ever thought of the contribution of women in the ministry of Jesus?

RELATED: Matthew 14:13-21

Gospel reading and reflection
Gospel reading and reflection

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