The fact that there is clearly more food after everyone has eaten than when before they started to eat is a clear sign that Jesus has worked a miracle. There is no way whatsoever to explain such an outcome. Some scholars sometimes suggest that the miracle was not so much a multiplication of the food but that Jesus was able to convince everyone there to share what food they have. This is clearly a spurious suggestion as the Gospel Writer makes it clear that there is not enough food to start with and nor is there enough money to buy the requisite food.

We are definitely with a miracle of multiplication. Why anyone feels that they have to doubt this I am not sure! It almost sees as though such people are afraid of the power of God to work outside the normal powers of nature. Yes, this is an amazing event, but our God is a God of surprises as He has so often demonstrated throughout history making the seeming impossible to happen and the highly probable to stop dead in its tracks. All this means is that we should stand in awe of God and humbly admit that not only is His power beyond us but so is comprehension of it beyond our small minds.

This miracle, the fourth recorded in John’s Gospel is situated before the Eucharistic discourse and it seems to me that it informs us as to how we should, at least partially, view the Eucharist as a source of our spiritual nourishment. Just as Jesus miraculously sates the hunger of thousands by multiplying the bread and fish, so too, He miraculously sustains us spiritually through the gift of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. If we stand in awe of the feeding miracle how much more should we be in awe of the His offering himself to us in the Eucharist?

It is also made clear at the end of this passage that Jesus is not after temporal power. He is not interested in being made an earthly king. He wants only to do what His Father wants Him to do as is indicated by His escaping from the crowds and going off into the hills to pray. Not only does Jesus display enormous power in His ministry, but a depth of humility that is difficult to fathom accompanies this power. I tend to think that it is His humility that is one if not the most important aspect of His character for us to imitate.

What can I learn from this mix of tremendous power and humility? How can I grow in humility so that God’s power will be all the stronger in my life?

Jesus, you were very clear on what was essential to your mission and what was not. Help me to have the same clarity in my life as to where I should be placing my energies.