The blessing of the five loaves of bread (Mt 14:18-14:19)

“Jesus said.

‘Bring them here to me.’

Then he ordered

The crowds

To sit down

On the grass.

He took

The five loaves

And the two fish.

He looked up to heaven.

He blessed them.

He broke the loaves.

He gave them

To the disciples.

Then the disciples

Gave them

To the crowds.”

 

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Φέρετέ μοι ὧδε αὐτούς.

καὶ κελεύσας τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνακλιθῆναι ἐπὶ τοῦ χόρτου, λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας, ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν, καὶ κλάσας ἔδωκεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς τοὺς ἄρτους, οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις.

 

This is the only blessing miracle that is recorded in all four gospels, Mark, chapter 6:39-41, Luke, chapter 9:14-16, and John, chapter 6:10-11, plus here.  The blessing of the bread and the fish is exactly the same in the synoptic gospels, but merely summarized in John.  This feeding of a large group of people harkens back to the Exodus story, chapter 16:1-36, about the manna and the quails in the wilderness.  Yet the blessing itself has almost a foretaste of the Eucharistic Last Supper of Jesus, when he blessed and broke the bread.  Jesus said to his disciples (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν) to bring him the food (Φέρετέ μοι ὧδε αὐτούς), the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish.  Then he ordered or directed the crowd to sit down on the grass (καὶ κελεύσας τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνακλιθῆναι ἐπὶ τοῦ χόρτου,).  He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish (λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας).  He looked up to heaven (ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν).  He blessed them (εὐλόγησεν).  Then he broke (καὶ κλάσας) the loaves of bread and the fishes into pieces.  He gave the loaves of bread to his disciples (ἔδωκεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς τοὺς ἄρτους).  They, in turn, gave them to the crowd (οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις).  This almost sounds like a large later distribution of Holy Communion.

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