NOW JESUS WISHED TO SPEND a little time alone with His disciples. So He said:
“Come apart into a desert place and rest a while.”
Taking a boat, they crossed to a deserted spot near Bethsaida Julias, on the northeastern shore of the lake. Meanwhile, the crowds had learned Jesus’ destination and hastily made the journey on foot, so that when He landed there was already a large group waiting.
Moved by compassion, Jesus spent the day there, preaching to the people and healing their sick. Toward evening the disciples asked Him to dismiss the crowds, so that they could go and buy some food. But Jesus said:
“They do not need to go away; you yourselves give them some food.”
And He asked Philip:
“Whence shall We buy bread that these may eat?”
The disciple replied that two hundred denarii of bread would provide only a meager repast for so many. Jesus said to him:
“How many loaves have you? Go and see.”
At this Andrew interposed that there was a young boy present who had five barley loaves and two fishes. Then Jesus said to the disciples:
“Bring them here to me.”
And He added:
“Make the people recline. Make them recline in groups of fifties.”
Taking the loaves and fishes, Jesus looked up to heaven and blessed and divided them. Then He gave the portions to His disciples to be distributed to the people. There were about five thousand present, but they all ate their fill. When they were finished, Jesus said:
“Gather the fragments that are left over, lest they be wasted.”
They filled twelve baskets with what was left over. And when the people realized the miracle Jesus had worked, they acclaimed Him as the promised Prophet and wished to seize Him and make Him their king.
Meditation: As a result of this startling miracle, the impulsive Galileans wanted to take Jesus by Him to Jerusalem, and there force, to bring to proclaim Him the Messianic King of Israel. Knowing their intention, Our Lord at once dismissed them and went off to pray. Their views on what the Messiah should be sharply differed from His own. They wanted a worldly king in the style of contemporary rulers; He was meek and humble of heart. Let us imitate His humility.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 89-90. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.