Jesus miraculously feeds the 4000 in a preview of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Piety so he can be more zealous in his desire for God and by pursuing the Virtue of Fortitude so he can build a habit of fasting in sacrifice to Jesus Christ.
1st Week of Advent – Wednesday – Mt 15:29-37
Jesus withdraws along the Sea of Galilee to a mountain and is followed by a large crowd. Though He desires to be with God the Father in solitude, Jesus has a deep visceral reaction to the multitude of desperate Jews and Gentiles who seek Him. For three days, Jesus tirelessly responds by miraculously curing all: the mute, the maimed, the lame and the blind. The multitude glorifies the God of Israel.
After three days, the crowd has been without food and are famished. Jesus feels deep compassion and worries about the well-being of the crowd, perhaps recalling His own fast in the desert for 40 days. The crowd is richly rewarded for their determination to be near Jesus for they are not only fed but witness an astounding miracle. Jesus’ history-changing action by the Feeding of the 4000 (men) understates the miracle; when women and children are included, the count of those fed is much higher (v 38 omitted from the Liturgy).
While the miracle of immediately creating a massive amount of food to feed thousands astounds, Jesus’ action is much greater than simple feeding. Revealing Himself as the Divine Priest, Jesus previews the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the breaking of the bread, just as He will do at the Last Supper. He draws the 12 Apostles to Himself and allows them to mediate His Grace to mankind as they distribute the bread to the multitude; as priests after Jesus’ Ascension, the Apostles and their successors will feed billions of people with the Bread of Life in the Eucharist at every Mass. Jesus sears the miracle into the minds of the 12 Apostles when they collect up more remains than they had at the beginning; the 7 loaves were miraculously multiplied to feed the multitude and now had grown to fill 7 baskets. After sending away the crowds, Jesus and the disciples travel to Magadan by boat (v 39 omitted from the Liturgy).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus Christ, the Divine King, is a miraculous Provider who, with Divine Power, transcends the laws of nature by supernaturally multiplying a small amount of bread and fish, creating a huge amount of material substance out of thin air, to feed thousands of famished men (and women/children), a prefigurement by the Divine Priest of how He will offer His actual Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Be zealous in your desire for God
Realize: The men who follow Jesus into the wilderness leave their responsibilities and even go without food, just to get a glimpse of Jesus.
Believe: Reflect upon the Desire to see God (CCC 2548-2550).
Pray: Almighty and Most Gracious Father, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I am filled with awe and love for You for the many blessings You have showered down upon me, and I zealously seek to draw close to You through persistent prayer and in the Sacraments.
Sacrifice for Christ by Fasting
Realize: Unlike the thousands of men who went without food for three days in the wilderness to be near Jesus, many men today don’t have the “hunger” to sacrifice and endure hardship for God.
Believe: Reflect upon the manly discipline of Friday Fasts (CCC 538, 1434, 2043).
Pray: Jesus Christ, the Perfection of Sacrifice, help me grow in the Virtue of Fortitude so I courageously persevere in the sacrifice of regular fasting (an act of Mortification, consistent with a man’s vocation, age, and health) and that through my sacrifice I might be drawn ever closer to You.