“Breaking the Bread”
“Photorealistic is Jasmine Diez’ style.
You can see her detailed gaze, the focused balance and beauty of her works, a captivating diversity of colours and forms.
Jasmine Diez graduated from FKS Stuttgart (Free Art School) with a Degree in Painting and Sculpture. She lives and works in the South of Germany.
It is pleasing to note that the “Breaking and Sharing of Bread” is recognized not just for its historical Christian origins, but universally as a sign of trust, confidence and comfort with an individual or group of people”.
11“The crowds learned about it and followed him.
He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God,
and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said,
‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside
and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here’.
13 He replied, ‘You give them something to eat’.
They answered, ‘We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd’.14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each’.
15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down.
16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he gave thanks and broke them.
Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.
17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over”.
We find the Disciples returning to Jesus, having completed the mission Jesus had given them to preach the Kingdom and to heal, to heal people in body and soul, sharing with them his power and authority. They told Jesus all that they had done and, wishing to spend time alone with them. He then withdrew and took the Disciples to Bethsaida. But, the crowds found out where He was and followed him in numbers – and He welcomed them. Instead of being frustrated at the loss of privacy and the lost opportunity to speak quietly with his Disciples, once again, Jesus showed his compassion towards human need and made them welcome.
How to feed so many?
When evening came, the crowd was hungry. The Twelve Disciples wanted Jesus to send the crowd away, to look for accommodation and food in the surrounding areas. Bethsaida was called “desert”, although green, but it was not a place that had been cultivated for growing food. But Jesus told the Disciples that they should feed the crowd, despite there being only five loaves and two fishes, offered by a small boy. Nor did they have the money to go and buy food, for what was about 5,000 men.
In passing, at times much is made of the fact that only men were mentioned and not the many women and children who would have been part of this great crowd. Perhaps we should just see it as a sign of those times, when only men would be counted, but those men would have had responsibility for the women and children in their groups and would undoubtedly look to their wellbeing. However, surely both men and women in our society welcome the social advances women have made to the benefit of themselves, their families and the wider world. We should also note that if women and children had in fact not been counted, then how much greater the miracle was!
The offering of a child
So, the offering of a young child of five loaves and two fishes started the evening meal. A child, no doubt also hungry but, with a heart for others, freely made his little offering for the benefit of all. Jesus instructed his Disciples to make the crowd sit down in groups of fifty. He took the five loaves and two fishes, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke them, giving thanks and told his Disciples to set them before the crowd. It is noteworthy that Jesus asked that his Disciples place themselves at the service of others. The crowd ate until satisfied; then, twelve baskets of leftovers were collected.
We can say with certainty that a miracle happened here. Jesus had the power to create more food from what little the boy had been able to offer and this he did to the satisfaction of all the crowd. This miraculous provision of food reveals the Lord as the source of life, or "bread of life," for Jews and Gentiles alike.
Or, as some would have it, the people were hungry, but they were totally selfish. Because of Jewish dietary laws, many would have brought their own food to be sure of an evening meal –but they were totally unwilling bring it out, in case they would have to share.
Perhaps when the Disciples humbly laid down the little that they could offer to share, it moved people to be open to sharing what they brought, to the extent that in the end there was enough for everyone. A reminder to be generous, even if we have only a little to offer, because if many make even a small contribution, great things can be achieved.
So, this version of the miracle is that selfish and unwelcoming people were turned into generous people; a miracle of Christ’s ability to change determined self-interest into a willingness to share. Perhaps Christ also foresaw how much easier sharing would be in smaller groups –having broken the crowd down into groups of fifty, making it harder to ignore the needs of others right by their side.
How often do we find ourselves willing to be more generous with those in need around us, people who stand before us or a cause with which we can identify? Are those our group of fifty? But how much harder we can make it when we don’t identify with large numbers of people in need, whom we do not know and will probably never see?
The ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’ is the only miracle performed by Jesus which is recorded in all four Gospels: Its significance is clear to see as Verse 16 of Luke’s account draws our attention to the Last Supper and to the Eucharist, a source of superabundant nourishment to those who receive the words and healing of Jesus.
What can we learn from this miracle in our own lives?
In William Barclay’s Commentary, he points out the concern of Jesus that the crowd is hungry. He muses about how much time Jesus spent easing the pain of others and reminds us that Jesus still needs that work to be done, but provided by our hands.
Mothers who spend their lives cooking for their family, nurses, doctors, friends or relatives who sacrifice time in their lives to ease another’s pain; social reformers who have worked tirelessly to achieve better conditions for men and women. In their actions, all of these preach far more effective sermons than any orator.
The help of Jesus was generous; in love, there is no calculation of who should have less or who should have more. God created a world where there is more than enough for all, if only we would share it.
We can find a permanent truth in the actions of Christ at Bethsaida. He feeds us with his own Body and He reminds us of his love for all. In Jesus all men and women’s needs are met. There is a hunger in our souls, at least at times when life’s distractions are not pressing, to find something meaningful in which to invest our lives. If not, we simply pass our time on earth, realising more and more the emptiness and temporary nature of material possessions and status.
Our hearts are restless until they rest in Jesus. As Saint Paul wrote “My God will supply every need of yours - even in the desert places of this life”.
We can take solace in the love Jesus has for us, as we try to bring solace to those in need, as he commanded.
“I adore You, Lord and Creator, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I adore You for all the works of Your hands, that reveal to me so much wisdom, goodness and mercy, O Lord. You have spread so much beauty over the earth and it tells me about Your beauty, even though these beautiful things are but a faint reflection of Your incomprehensible Beauty. And although You have hidden Yourself and concealed Your beauty, my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches You and my soul recognizes its Creator, its Highest Good, and my heart is completely immersed in prayer of adoration.
Saint Faustina Kowalska
"The Lord says to my lord,
'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool'.
The Lord sends out from Zion your mighty sceptre. Rule in the midst of your foes. Your people will offer themselves willingly
on the day you lead your forces on the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning, like dew, your youth will come to you. The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind
‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’.
The Lord is at your right hand”.
What does the Eucharist mean to me?
* Do I feel the specialness, the holiness and grace that is God in the form of the bread and wine?
* Do I think of the opportunity I have every day to relive his sacrifice for us, thank him for it, receiving his grace over and over again, until we see him face to face?
* Do I feel that intimacy with him on receiving the Eucharist?
* Can I take those precious moments and build on them to achieve the deep personal relationship I desire with Christ?
Jesus working through us
* “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes with which Christ looks out his compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now”. Saint Teresa of Avila.
* Do I fully take Saint Teresa’s words to heart?
* Do I consider that praying to God for the good of others is sufficient?
* Do I recognise that Christ is waiting for me to take action to help others as He
helped them, not simply to pray for him to come to their aid?
* Do I recognise that my little “loaves and fishes” can make a difference when
combined with the help of others?
Loving others through Jesus
* How do I come to see Jesus in every face that I see?
* Can I do something for everyone I meet, even if it is only the opportunity to pray for them ?
* Can I put to one side the embarrassment most of us feel when encountering someone homeless / on the street?
* Do I have considered approach to helping them? Do I try to provide food rather than cash? Do I give cash when I can? Do I engage eye to eye with the person, to recognise their human dignity? Do I see Christ? Even if I have nothing to give, I can show them love, as Christ did.