It’s probable that many of our readers received their catechism classes during the turbulent years of the 70’s, and may have heard, wide-eyed and scandalized, that the well-known miracle of the multiplication of the loaves – transmitted in the Gospel – was nothing more than a metaphor to symbolize the power of sharing with others. It was a time in which many things in the Church were re-interpreted by some…and much innocence was lost.
Despite such misguided flights of imagination, the fact is that this particular miracle of the multiplication of loaves appears on two different occasions in the Gospels, the first of which is narrated by all four Evangelists – perhaps the only miracle that receives this attention. That’s why it’s not difficult to have quite a complete picture of the circumstances that surrounded the happening: we even know what type of loaves they were, and where they came from. According to Saint John, they were barley loaves provided by a young boy. The four Gospels carefully recount the number of those benefited: more or less five thousand men, without counting the women and children.
Therefore, it was a miracle experienced by a significant number of witnesses who were hungry and were aware of the lack of food, but who ended up satisfying themselves on the loaves and fishes. Moreover, they could attest to the reality of the miracle by the leftovers collected afterwards by the disciples. The same happened with the second multiplication, narrated in the Synoptics: in this episode, Jesus fed around four thousand people with seven loaves and a few small fish. And though Jesus was accused by his detractors of all sorts of lies, even they could not o so far as to deny this miracle, which was so amply witnessed.
In light of such a clear narration, would it be licit for a catholic to doubt the power of Christ? Wouldn’t he who walked on water and transformed water into wine have the power to multiply loaves and even produce them out of nothing? Just as those who sought Jesus, eager to learn his doctrine, the Church also transmits very firm and accessible teachings to all of us regarding the divine power of our Redeemer, and these specific episodes, as well as indicating how the other facts narrated in the Gospels should be interpreted...Read on…