The Gospel reading from the Mass for Monday of the 18th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 14:13-21.

Christ withdraws by boat across the Sea of Galilee to a deserted place to mourn John the Baptist’s murder and He is followed by a large crowd on foot. Though He desires to be with the Father in solitude, Christ has a deep visceral reaction to the multitude of desperate people who seek Him and He cures the sick.

As the hour draws late and the people are hungry, the Apostles suggest that Christ send the people home; it does not even occur to the Apostles that Christ could feed the multitude. Christ’s history-changing action by Feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle of Christ’s earthly ministry recorded in all four Gospels. The 5000 number refers to only the men; when women and children are included, the count of those fed is much higher.

While the miracle of feeding thousands of people astounds, Christ’s action is much greater than simple feeding. Christ is testing the Apostles, revealing their own inadequacy and preparing them to be leaders of Church. Revealing Himself as the Divine Priest, Christ previews the liturgy of the Eucharist in the breaking of the bread, just as He will do at the Last Supper. He draws the 12 Apostles to Himself and allows them to mediate His Grace to mankind as they distribute the bread to the multitude; as priests after Christ’s Resurrection, the Apostles and their successors will feed billions of people with the Bread of Life in the Eucharist at every Mass. Christ seers the miracle into the minds of the 12 Apostles when He requires each of them to personally fill a basket with the leftovers.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Mercy, Christ heals the sick and relieves the hunger of the multitude.  Divine King and the Greatest Leader, Christ forms His apostles through participation in the miracle.  Son of Man, Christ feels emotions deeply, particularly compassion for the suffering. Divine Priest, Christ’s replays the feeding of Israel with manna, previews the Eucharist and initiates the Apostles into priesthood.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ is a superbly powerful man. Reflect on Christ’s grueling schedule in this passage: He spends a number of hours in a small boat; is swamped by thousands of desperate people and heals them working late in the day; He has the power to command and be heard by thousands in an outdoor setting.

2) As the Son of God, everything that Christ does is perfectly inspired and has divine purpose. Marvel at how Christ set the foundation for the Eucharist in the Signs of the Bread and Wine (CCC 1333-1336) and pray for Christ to help you be awed at every Mass when simple bread and wine is transubstantiated into the real Body and Blood of Christ.

3) It is easy for men to fail to acknowledge Christ’s miraculous power; even the Apostles were surprised by Christ. Reflect upon the Miracles of Christ (CCC 156, 515, 547-550) and pray for Christ to give you the faith to pray for miracles in His name.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Souls in Purgatory

Virtue of the Day – Prudence

Corporal Work of Mercy – To give drink to the thirsty

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To instruct the ignorant