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.

The role of the remnant of Jacob (Mic 5:7-5:9)

“Then the remnant of Jacob,

Surrounded by many people,

Shall be

Like dew from Yahweh,

Like showers on the grass.

They do not depend

Upon people,

Nor wait for any mortal.

The remnant of Jacob,

Among the nations,

Surrounded by many people,

Shall be

Like a lion

Among the beasts of the forest,

Like a young lion

Among the flocks of sheep.

When it goes through,

It treads down.

It tears in pieces.

No one would deliver them.

Your hand shall be lifted up

Over your adversaries.

All your enemies

Shall be cut off.”

The remnant of Jacob, those in captivity, would be both a blessing and a curse to those around them.  They would be surrounded by many people from different countries.  However, they would be independent of other people, since they would be like the gentle dew from Yahweh or quiet rain showers on the grass.  However, they could also be like a lion among the beasts of the forest or a lion attacking a flock of sheep.  If they were attacking sheep, they would tread on them and tear them to pieces.  They would surely act like lions against their enemies.  Thus, the remnant of Jacob could be a force for goodness or an attacking lion.

Some sheep were ruining their food and drink (Ezek 34:18-34:19)

“Is it not enough

For you

To feed

On the good pasture?

Must you tread down

With your feet

The rest of your pasture?

When you drink

Of clear water,

Must you foul

The rest

With your feet?

Must my sheep eat

What you have trodden

With your feet?

Must they drink

What you have fouled

With your feet?”

Some of the sheep were messing up the food supply for the other sheep. They had these wonderful pastures with plenty of food and drink. However, some of these sheep were walking all over the place keeping the grass from growing. They were also walking in the water holes, so that they became polluted. Pollution has always been a problem. In other words, Yahweh, via Ezekiel was complaining that some sheep were messing up the good clean drinking water and the lush green pastures by stomping all over them. Among the sheep of Israel, some were causing problems by fouling things up. The emphasis on their feet was an indication that the actions of these bad Israelite sheep were making it difficult for the good Israelite sheep to sustain their lives with good food and pure water.

The land in mourning (Jer 12:4-12:4)

“How long will

The land mourn?

How long will

The grass of every field wither?

Due to the wickedness of those

Who live in it,

The animals

Are swept away.

The birds

Are swept away.

Because people said.

‘He is blind to our ways.’”

Jeremiah wanted to know how long the land would mourn. How long would the grass wither in the fields? Due to the wickedness of these people, the animals and the birds of this land were to be swept away. These people thought that Yahweh was blind to their evil ways.

Some proverbs (Sir 40:12-40:17)

“All bribery

Will be blotted out.

All injustice

Will be blotted out.

But good faith

Will last forever.

The wealth of the unjust

Will dry up like a river.

The wealth of the unjust

Will crash like a loud clap

Of thunder in a storm.

A generous person

Has cause to rejoice.

Lawbreakers

Will utterly fail.

The children of the ungodly

Put out few branches.

They are unhealthy roots

On sheer rock.

The reeds by any water

Or river bank

Are plucked up

Before any grass.

Kindness is

Like a garden of blessings.

Almsgiving endures forever.”

Sirach utters some proverbs or sayings about injustice and life. Bribery and injustice will be blotted out, but good faith will last forever. The wealth of the unjust will disappear like a dried up river or thunder in a storm, here today, but gone tomorrow. Generous people should rejoice, while the lawbreakers will fail. The children of the ungodly will have few branches because their unhealthy roots are on solid rocks so they will have no yield. They are like reeds near water that is plucked before the grass. Kindness, on the other hand, grows into a garden of blessings. Then too almsgiving endures forever.

Take care of your farm animals (Prov 27:23-27:27)

“Know well the condition of your flocks.

Give attention to your herds.

Riches do not last forever.

A crown does not endure for all generations.

When the grass is gone,

The new growth appears.

The herbage of the mountains is gathered.

The lambs will provide your clothing.

The goats provide the price of a field.

There will be enough goats’ milk for your food.

This is the food of your household.

This will nourish your servant-girls.”

You have to take good care of your farm animals. You should know the condition of your flock and your herds. Wealth, like the crown of a king, does not last forever. When the grass is gone, a new growth will appear. The vegetables or herbage of the mountains will be gathered. The lamb’s wool will be made into clothing. The goat’s milk will provide you with food. There will be enough food for your household and your servants. This is a warning to the rich not to take their situation too lightly since things could change.

Sing to Yahweh (Ps 147:7-147:11)

“Sing to Yahweh

With thanksgiving!

Make melody to our God

Upon the lyre!

He covers the heavens with clouds.

He prepares rain for the earth.

He makes grass grow on the hills.

He gives to the animals their food.

He gives to the young ravens

When they cry.

His delight is not in the strength of the horse.

His pleasure is not in the speed of a runner.

But Yahweh takes pleasure

In those who fear him.

He takes pleasure

In those who hope

In his steadfast love.”

We are to sing with thanksgiving to Yahweh. We are to make a melody on the lyre to our God. He has covered the heavens with clouds so that he could send rain to the earth to make the grass grow on the hills. He provided food for the animals, especially the ravens when they cried. He does not delight in the strength of a horse or the speed of a human runner. Rather he takes pleasure in those who fear him. He takes pleasure in those who hope in his steadfast love.