The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. There have been people who have studied this miracle trying to understand it in all its facets. Even when we think we know it all new light comes forth and we start all over again. Perhaps that is the nature of a true miracle. There is always more to learn, to understand.
Elisha in the first reading is involved with the multiplication of the barley loaves. He simply states that everyone will eat and there will be some left over. The miracle is direct. There is a small amount of food and a great number of people. How is that resolved? Through a miracle from God, not Elisha. Elisha is the mediator between God and the people. Elisha is also known to have worked more miracles than Elijah. Elijah is better known because he prayed to God, asking for fire to come down from heaven to consume the offering. This first reading sets the stage for what is about to happen in the gospel. The psalm reminds us that it is the hand of God through which these miracles happen.
Do you accept the story of feeding five thousand as a miracle? Or do you try to find some rational way to explain what happened? Over the last few decades, people have been attempting to explain the miracle in some way other than a miracle. One of the more popular explanations is that as the bread and fish were brought to the people, they would discover that they had an extra loaf of bread in their pocket. They in turn would share this food with others. I suppose you could call this a miracle. But to give this type of explanation is also a hardening of our hearts. We harden our hearts to miracles that we cannot explain because we do not want to accept the actual miracle. Maybe what happens seems too fantastic, too other worldly, to really have happened. If we harden our hearts then we do not have to accept the fantastic, the unexplainable.
I believe there are miracles waiting to happen to everyone, every day. But because we harden our hearts, we do not accept the hand of God working within us. Remember when Jesus was in His hometown. He said a prophet is not without honor except in his own town and family. He was not able to work many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Our faith has an important role in discovering miracles. When we believe, God continues His creation in and through us. When we do not believe or try to rationalize events happening around us then we have hardened our hearts and no longer do we participate. Why would God work a miracle without our participation? Philip had hardened his heart. He could only envision the cost of what it would take to feed so many people. Andrew opened his heart to other possibilities. Even with a few loaves and a couple of fish, he brought them to Jesus. His heart was open to a miracle. And what a miracle!
If we are like Philip, we can question if anything will happen, and of course, nothing will. We need to be more like Andrew. Bring what little we have to the Lord and let Him use it. Let us not miss another miracle waiting to happen just for us.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen