Daily Gospel Reflection – Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
August 7, 2023
Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mt 14:13-21
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." He said to them, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me," and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand. Jesus went up on a mountain and sat down with his disciples. In Scripture, mountains are places of encounter, where God comes down and men and women go up.
The disciples want to dismiss the hungry crowd, but Jesus says, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” Jesus is interested not only in instructing the crowds but in feeding them as well. The disciples bring forth a poor pittance—five barley loaves and two fish—and observe that this is woefully inadequate for so many. But Jesus presses forward, taking, giving thanks, and having the disciples distribute the bread. And everyone is fed.
A significant theological principle is in play here: God has no need vis-à-vis the world that he has made. Precisely because he stands to gain nothing from the world, whatever is given to him breaks against the rock of the divine self-sufficiency and redounds to the benefit of the giver. From this principle follows as a corollary what St. John Paul II called the law of the gift—namely, that one’s being increases in the measure that one gives oneself away.