Heartfelt Miracle

Scripture Reading

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,
Jesus summoned the disciples and said,
“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
because they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
If I send them away hungry to their homes,
they will collapse on the way,
and some of them have come a great distance.”
His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread
to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”
Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They replied, “Seven.”
He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,
and gave them to his disciples to distribute,
and they distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them
and ordered them distributed also.
They ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets.
There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples
and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
(Mark 8:1-10)


Scripture Study

8:1–10 An episode similar to the miracle in 6:35–44, but dissimilar in several details. Jesus multiplies seven (8:5) loaves instead of five (6:38), collects seven (8:8) leftover baskets instead of twelve (6:43), and feeds four thousand (8:9) people instead of 5,000 (6:44).

8:2 I have compassion: The lack of food in this episode illustrates how Jesus rewards the crowd for their perseverance, despite natural discomforts like hunger (8:2).

8:6 given thanks: A translation of the Greek verb eucharisteō, which is the basis for the English word “Eucharist”. Jesus’ multiplication of bread after giving thanks foreshadows the Last Supper and the institution of the Blessed Sacrament (1 Cor 11:24; CCC 1328, 1335). See note on Mk 6:35–44.

8:10 Dalmanutha: An unknown location in Galilee also called “Magadan” (Mt 15:39).[1]

Scripture Reflection

An awful lot of contemporary theologians and Bible commentators have tried to explain away the miracles of Jesus as spiritual symbols. Perhaps most notoriously, many preachers tried to explain the multiplication of the loaves and fishes as a “miracle” of charity, everyone sharing the little that he had.

But I think it’s hard to deny that the first Christians were intensely interested in the miracles of Jesus and that they didn’t see them as mere literary symbols! They saw them for what they really were: actions of God, breaking into our world.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV. 



[1] Curtis Mitch, “Introduction to the Gospels,” in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 79.