Catechesis on the Miracles of Jesus: The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Authored by Msgr. Paul J. Watson in Issue #32.2 of The Sower

In the first articles of this series on the miracles of Jesus we briefly explored the miracle of turning water into wine at Cana in Galilee. That miracle is classified by C.S.Lewis as a miracle of fertility and as a miracle of the Old Creation. Describing it in this way focuses attention upon the fact that a gospel miracle is a local and sudden occurrence of something that God is always doing in Nature. It is the sudden and nature of the specific action that testifies to the divine person of Jesus Christ, and that leads us to describe the action as a miracle.

In the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, the same principle can be seen. In the processes of Nature, a single seed of corn, once in the ground, eventually produces a whole new crop of corn. Abundance and fertility is something that God has granted to living things in Nature. This quality reveals the divine origin of living created things and reflects the Creator. In Nature fish, also, have the capacity in the cycle of reproduction to produce a superabundance of new fish.

The miracle of Jesus, in multiplying bread and fish, is a witness to the sudden and immediate action of the divine person accomplishing what God has always accomplished, though often unnoticed, on the broad canvas of Nature. The miracle is not so much a suspension of Nature, as a suspension of the normal or usual process by which God accomplishes something through Nature.

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