FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT: The Five Loaves And Two Fishes - The Description.
Hendrik de Clerck
The Feeding of the Five Thousand
GOSPEL (John 6:1-15)
At that time, After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain: and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" And this he said to try him: for he himself knew what he would do.Philip answered him: "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one may take a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: "There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes. But what are these among so many?" Then Jesus said: "Make the men sit down." Now, there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: "Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost." They gathered up therefore and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: "This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world." Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountains, himself alone.
The Five Loaves And Two Fishes.
He which is in company of Jesus, can want nothing.
Do you behold this great number of people, set by hundreds and fifties, upon these beds and Tapestries of herbs and flowers of the Spring, taking their refection in the midst of the Desert? they are about five thousand men, besides women and little children: who following our Saviour many days, heard his Word with such fervor and delight, that before they were aware, all their provisions was spent, and were utterly destitute of necessary food, in these high mountains and barren places, fruitful only of grass and flowers.
Yet notwithstanding, they banquet to their fill, having marvelous abundance of food, though all their provision was but five Barly-loaves and two fishes, which a young Boy of the troop had by chance brought with him.
O this Boy shall one day, under the name of Marshall,be a great seeder and nourisher of Christian souls, in the Country of Aquitan.
This provision was only casual, and very insufficient for so great a number of people: but the Divine providence was neither casual, nor niggardly, which knows well how to provide for want, and to make abundance of new Manna spring up in the midst of the Desert, and to feed them after which material found, whom he had fed before with the bread of his holy Doctrine.
For he multiplied the Loaves and the Fishes, by his blessing, in such abundance, as they did suffice to fill all this people, set at so many tables, who brought with them as good appetites to eat, as they had strong stomach to digest.
All ate as much as they will of these Loaves, and these Fishes. And the Apostles are the dividers and delivers, no less wondering then joyful to see, that the bread and fishes increase in their hands, as fast as they distributed them to their guests.
But Philip and Andrew above all other were astonished; for they also above the rest apprehended the greatness of the multitude, and the little quantity of food, which was to be had in that place.
The good Philip said, Two hundred pennyworth of bread will not suffice, that every one may have a little bit, (as the custom is to distribute holy bread.) Whereas these five Loaves, brought by this child, were not to be valued at three pence.
And Andrew giving notice to our Saviour, of the afore-said named Loaves and Fishes, saith, But what are these amongst so many?
As indeed, they might see to be nothing, for so great a number, according to the rule of human judgement, meaning the food with the eaters, and not considering, what the divine hand of God can do. Whilst they seen and admire the miracle, the guests bestir themselves justly; without sparing either their pains in eating, or the meat set before them.
They, who have long since filled their stomachs, begin to fill their buckets; and there is not one here, that doth not keep some pieces of this bread; some for necessary provision, others as relics of devotion.
And after all this, the Apostles filled twelve baskets full with the fragments. All of them are transported with joy and astonishment, preferring our Saviour before Moses, as having found a means, by his omnipotent hand, to furnish a table in the Desert; whereas Moses procured only Manna to fall from heaven, made to his hands, by the hands of Angels, and not produced by any Blessing of his. Whereupon they resolve to take our Saviour their head, and to make him their King.
But he, who was created King by his Father, and carieth written in his thigh, and in his garment, this title, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and is descended on earth to endure dishonors, and not for to joy in the glory of the world, will not have to do with such electors, nor with such a Kingdom.
Wherefore, he goes further in the desert, stealing away, both from their sight, and election.