God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way. Use the red buttons below to view the activities for your groups.
This Sunday's Readings
The Lord will renew his covenant with the descendents of David.
The Lord provides for his people.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Jesus feeds the crowd with five loaves and two fish.
Background on the Gospel Reading
Today we jump ahead in our reading of Matthew's Gospel to Chapter 14. Last week we heard Jesus conclude his discourse with the crowds about the Kingdom of Heaven. In Matthew's narrative, Jesus then leaves the crowds and returns to Nazareth, where he is rejected. Matthew then recounts the story of John the Baptist's arrest and execution at the hands of Herod. Today's Gospel reading begins at this point.
Upon hearing the news of the death of John the Baptist, Jesus seeks to withdraw, but the crowds follow him. Jesus reaches out to them in compassion and heals the sick. At the end of a long day, the disciples encourage Jesus to send the crowds away so that they might find provisions for themselves. Jesus again responds with compassion for the crowd. Jesus tells his disciples to provide food for the crowd. The disciples reply with a report of the meagerness of their own provisions—five loaves and two fish. The result is the very familiar miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Matthew's Gospel tells us that 5,000 men were fed, and this number does not even include the women and children.
Jesus' blessing brought abundance from the meager provisions of the disciples. In this action, Jesus offers us a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven that he has been teaching about in the parables. A feast results from the smallest of portions—remember the mustard seed and the yeast. In this miracle we witness an example for Christian life and ministry. Even the smallest of offerings can produce abundant results when placed in the service of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We find the story of Jesus' multiplication of the loaves and the fish in each of the four Gospels. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, Jesus performs this same miracle on two separate occasions. The story of this miracle is an anticipation of the Eucharist in which we are fed by the abundant grace of God. The importance of the Eucharist has been a defining element of Christian life from the very beginning.