18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Purpose of the Miracle
Fr. Joseph Rampino
It may be that there are no miracles in the life of Christ more famous than the feeding of the multitude. We know well the scene, Christ sitting above the crowds, concerned for their well-being, taking the little they possess, and with a blessing, using it to more than satisfy their hunger.
We also know many of the lessons this miracle teaches. It shows that we should not be afraid to offer God what we have, no matter how small and ineffective it might seem to us. It reminds us that when Christ cares for us, He does not provide merely what we need, as though He were reluctantly measuring out grace, grain by grain, but that He gives in overabundance, more than we could ever need, receive, or understand.
But why does Christ perform this miracle in the first place? The disciples originally ask Him to send the people away so that they can provide for themselves. The people in this passage are not starving, or without other options. The only reason they cannot go find food is that the Lord wants to keep them close to Him. The miracle becomes necessary because the Lord does not want the crowds to leave. He must feed them miraculously because He wants to continue this moment of friendship with the people.
Christ still wants us to stay close to Him. He does not want our relationship with Him to be something that happens on Sunday, or at the beginning and end of the day, something outside the rest of our “normal” life. He knows that we need Him in everything, and He wants to meet that need of our souls, even if we aren’t quite aware of it yet. To make Christ truly the center of our lives and to live every moment with Him requires trusting that He will care and provide for us. The great miracle of feeding the multitude assures us that He will indeed do so, and that we have nothing to fear in offering ourselves entirely to His Sacred Heart.