Eighth Sunday of Pentecost

Jesus Gives Lunch to Thousands of People

Matthew 14: 13 - 21

Mark 6: 30 - 44

Luke 9: 10 - 17

John 6: 1 - 14

When Jesus heard that Herod Antipas had ordered the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew from his disciples and his followers to mourn John's death privately.

But the crowds still followed him, and he left his own grief to heal those in great need of his healing.

The barley loaves may have been small dense loaves of bread, or even rounds of pita bread. The fish had probably been preserved in some fashion.

We can celebrate this feast with our own picnic, made of Bible foods.

The people in Bible times rarely shared foods outside their own households because of the dietary laws - they couldn't be sure that food prepared by other people was clean according to the laws of Moses. That 5000 men (plus women and children) shared food with strangers in a public setting was a miracle in itself.

As we give thanks for shared food and learn to see Jesus as the bread of life, we learn table graces to thank God for his goodness and for the food he gives us. Thank You for This Food, by Debbie Trafton O'Neal, contains a delightful collection of table prayers.

1. Why did the people come to Jesus?

[The people came to Jesus for the healing of the sick.]

2. How much food did they have to share?

[The disciples had five loaves of bread and two fish.]

3. What did Jesus do before he shared the food?

[Jesus gave thanks and broke the loaves.]

4. How much food was left over?

[Twelve baskets of food were left over.]

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