Jesus prefigures the Sacrament of the Eucharist in the miraculous Feeding of the 4000 (men). Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he can better grasp the astounding reality of the Eucharist and by building the Virtue of Fortitude so he can courageously sacrifice for Jesus Christ.
5th Week in Ordinary Time – Saturday – Mk 8:1-10
Earlier, Jesus had traveled to the area of the Decapolis (“ten cities”) and miraculously cast out a legion of demons from a possessed man, causing much fear (Mk 5:1-20). The former-demoniac desired to come with Jesus but He commanded him to stay and evangelize; upon returning, the man’s testimony has made Jesus known and a huge multitude comes to meet Him in a deserted place, far from the cities.
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 Feeding of the 4000 (Men) understates the miracle; when women and children are included, the count of those fed is much higher.
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.
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.
Seek the Spirit to better understand the Eucharist
Realize: While Jesus’ miraculous Feeding of the 4000 is astounding, His continued feeding of hundreds of millions of Catholics with His Body and Blood at weekly Mass is a stupendously greater miracle which transcends time and space and alters the eternal destiny of many.
Believe: Reflect upon The Eucharist (CCC 1322-1344).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so I am blessed by You to always recognize and be awed by the Son’s miraculous gift of the Eucharist, joyfully receive His actual Body and Blood, and be moved to draw many more to Him.
Pursue Fortitude to sacrifice for Christ
Realize: Unlike the men who courageously persevere in the tough conditions of the wilderness for three days so they may grow in holiness by drawing close to Jesus, many in the prosperous modern society have lost the “hunger” to endure hardship and persevere in the pursuit of holiness, which dulls the senses, clouds a man’s will, and stunts his spiritual growth.
Believe: Reflect upon the Virtue of Fortitude (CCC 1808).
Pray: Jesus Christ, the Perfection of Fortitude, help me grow in the Virtue of Fortitude (and its parts) so that I aspire to sainthood (Magnanimity), work to grow in holiness (Magnificence), continue to seek holiness (Perseverance), even in the face of attacks (Courage) and sorrow (Patience).