The parables about the miraculous feeding of the many thousands of people are probably some of the best known of all the miracles of Jesus. It must have been a truly awe-inspiring to have witnessed such an event. How on earth was it possible for Jesus to feed thousands of people with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish? What is the deeper meaning of this parable?

All of the parables in the Gospels teach us something about the nature of the Kingdom of God. Each one focuses upon a different aspect. In today’s parable there is a very obvious focus upon food and our need for food to survive. That the Gospel is directly about physical food that helps to keep the body healthy is an indication that Jesus wants to teach us something about food. However, I think He really wants to speak to us the food that will nourish us spiritually and, more particularly, the origin of this spiritual food.

The people ate until they had their fill. This is an experience that we are all very familiar with – namely eating until we are hungry no more. If this is the case with food for the body, how much more should it be so with food for the spirit and soul? Here is the question that is presented to us in today’s Gospel! What do we do to ensure that our spirits and souls are fed with food for everlasting life? This type of food is free! Its primary sources are Scripture and prayer! These are always available to us if we want them.

The parable tells us that Jesus gives the people enough food to eat so that their hungers are quenched. This food is miraculously provided for them from heaven. Perhaps what Jesus is really saying to all of the people is that spiritual food is always there for us to feast on as well IF WE WANT IT! And herein is the great question that confronts each one of us every day: Are we going to provide the time and effort to pray and read the Scriptures so that our spiritual hungers and thirsts will be sated, or are we going to find other things to do with our time?

What is my commitment to prayer and daily reading of the Scriptures? Am I as committed to feeding my spiritual hungers and thirsts as I am to feeding my physical hungers and thirsts?

Jesus, I know that you ought to be the centre of my life. Help me to deny myself in order that my life will be focused upon you and your will for my life.