16th April 2021

What is in a Boy?: Reflections on the Feeding of the Five Thousand –  Formingfaith


Reading 1: Acts 5: 34-42 the persecuted apostles find a defender in Gamaliel, and they are released but commanded not to preach again, but they do not obey.

Gospel: Jn 6: 1-15 Jesus begins his instruction on the Eucharist by feeding five thousand with five barley loaves and some dried fish, miraculously multiplied.


In today’s gospel, with five barley loaves and two fish from the hands of a little boy, Jesus provides a full meal to the enormous crowd gathered before him, and there are twelve baskets left over. However, this miracle is more than just feeding the hungry; it has a deeper message, especially for the disciples of the Lord.

  • Jesus wants to teach us about generosity. When we are generous and share with others without counting the cost, like that little boy, God will multiply the fruits of our offering for the benefit of others, and the blessings of our sacrifice, for our benefit.
  • The feeding of the five thousand with physical bread is a sign that points to the desire of Jesus to feed the whole of humanity with his body and blood, the true bread that comes down from heaven and brings eternal life.
  • The miracle of the multiplication of bread, helps us understand that God is not only powerful but he also cares for us and knows our needs, and fulfils those that are genuine even before we ask.
  • We need to learn to be content with whatever we have, like Jesus was with few loaves of bread and the fish, and do the best we can, with an attitude of gratitude.

Often, Christians tend to measure the strength of their spiritual life on the spiritual activities that they do, often forgetting in the process, the need of being genuinely generous. That’s what makes the boy stand out in the story of today. In the midst of the five thousand men, he was the only one who got up and, despite being hungry, offered the Lord his little packet of food. The others got up instead, after being fed, to try to make Jesus king so that he could continue to satisfy their needs. Though all of them heard the Lord preach, perhaps it was only the little boy who actually listened.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 27: 1, 4, 13-14 There is one thing I ask of the Lord, to live in the house of the Lord.

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