Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
Physical hunger is very real in our world today. The United Nations estimates that up to one billion people in the world struggle with food insecurity. That’s about one out of every seven people.
But a different kind of hunger is even more common: spiritual emptiness and insecurity. It extends from the poor to the rich, and from the young to the old. Of course, precise statistics on spiritual hunger are impossible to determine. But it’s safe to assume that the number of those who are spiritually hungry in this world is much higher than a billion.
In today’s passage Jesus reaches out to people who are both physically and spiritually hungry. Taking five loaves and two fish, he looks to heaven and gives thanks. After breaking the loaves, he gives them to his disciples to distribute to the large crowd of people. And the miracle happens! Everyone eats and is satisfied, and there are lots of leftovers.
Some readers of this passage try to give “rational” explanations as to what happened. But it was a true miracle. God promised that with the coming of the true Shepherd the wilderness would become a rich pasture where his sheep would be gathered and fed (Ezekiel 34:23-31). Jesus is the Shepherd who provides for all our needs.
Please come to him if you struggle with hunger in your heart! He alone can satisfy!
Father, thank you for satisfying our spiritual hunger through Jesus. You feed us daily as your Spirit gives us strength to walk in your ways. Amen.
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