By Sadie Curtin
The feeding of the five thousand with only five loaves and two fish is certainly one of the most memorable documented, public miracles of Jesus. Last year, I had the privilege to travel to the Holy Land on a Christian pilgrimage with 70 fellow pilgrims.
One of the first stops during our time in Galilee was the site where, most likely, this miracle would have taken place.
To this day, some 2,000 years later, the site is quite simple – just a mundane field set on a hilltop, not too far from the Sea of Galilee, and is marked today by a small, stone chapel providing a quiet place for pilgrims to pause for prayer and reflection.
As a pilgrim myself, I was able to enjoy this prayer space, pondering the miracle story I had heard over and over for years.
To be at the place where Jesus performed this miracle in front of so many was chilling, exciting, and unforgettable.
But the influence of Ignatian spirituality in my own faith formation has taught me that every time you read, listen to, or pray with scripture, it is likely you may gain completely different or new insight from any other previous encounter with the same text. So, as I re-read and reflect upon the this miracle I am moved to an entirely new insight.
When I think about the disciples coming forward with five loaves and two fish, it makes me wonder:
Is a miracle of multiplication or sharing?
I am drawn to the idea that the true miracle is the act of sharing. Perhaps when it was time to eat after many hours of Jesus’ preaching and healing it was not the loaves and fish that literally grew and multiplied, but it was the message of Jesus that inspired each of them to share the small amounts they had brought with them for their own family with those around them.
The Scripture tells us that all ate and were satisfied and that there were even leftovers. When I view the miracle in this way I am challenged to see strangers sharing their food with one another, sharing in conversation, and sharing in the wonder and curiosity of Jesus.
In the society of “me-monsters,” a term coined by my mom, sharing is indeed a miracle.
What would the world look like if selfishness, greed, and ignorance were eliminated? Would sharing what we have be easier? I am led to believe that Jesus’ message to the crowds would sound very similar to a crowd gathered in the 21st century. There is not enough for everyone,
so if you could please share what you have with others everyone will be satisfied.
The miracle reveals that it took a little inspiration from Jesus and some generosity of the people to achieve satisfaction. The story is same for me as a living person. I pray that I may find inspiration to encounter others with generosity because
our sharing is a part of God’s miracle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sadie Curtin is the Co-Director of Faith Formation at the Church of the Gesu and a graduate student of Pastoral and Theological Studies at Ursuline College. She is a lover of travel and new adventures, but is proud to call Cleveland home. She fills her time with laughter, singing, enjoying sweet treats, and most recently running -- all because someone asked her to share in The Living Person challenge!