In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied.
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people. He dismissed them
and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB
Commentary of the day :
Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, VI, 73-88 (cf. SC 45, p. 254f. rev.)
“If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way”
Lord Jesus, how well I know you have no wish to allow these people here with me to remain hungry but to feed them with the food you distribute, and so, strengthened with your food, they will have no fear of collapsing from hunger. I know, too, that you have no wish to send us away hungry, either… As you have said: you do not want them to collapse on the way, meaning to collapse in the byways of this life, before reaching the end of the road, before coming to the Father and understanding that you come from the Father…
Our Lord takes pity, then, so that none may collapse along the way… Just as he makes it rain on the just as well as the unjust (Mt 5,45) so he feeds the just as well as the unjust. Was it not thanks to the strength of the food that the holy prophet Elijah, when he was collapsing on the way, was able to walk for forty days? (1Kgs 19,8). It was an angel who gave that food to him but, in your case, it is Christ himself who feeds you. If you preserve the food you have received in this way then you will walk, not forty days and forty nights… but for forty years, from your departure from the borders of Egypt to your arrival in the land of plenty, the land where milk and honey flow (Ex 3,8)…
And so Christ shares out the foodstuffs and, there is no question, he wants to give it to all. He withholds it from no one for he provides for everyone. Nevertheless, when he breaks the loaves and gives them to the disciples, unless you hold out your hands to receive your portion, you will collapse along the way… This bread that Jesus breaks is the mystery of the Word of God: it increases as it is distributed. With only a few words Jesus has provided abundant nourishment for all peoples. He has given us his words as bread and, while we are tasting them, they increase in our mouths… Even as the crowds are eating, the pieces increase and become more numerous to such an extent that, in the end, the leftovers are even more plentiful than the loaves that were shared.