Fr. Mike Paraniuk
Fr. Mike Paraniuk
By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church and
St. Benignus Catholic Church

I have always been intrigued about Jesus telling the Apostles to feed the crowd themselves. That crowd of men, plus women and children was over 12,000 people, more than all the people who live in Hillsboro and Greenfield combined (11,082).

Yet, the only food available was five cheap barley loaves of bread and two fish the size of a sardine.

When Jesus said, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves,” He was testing their faith in Him. Jesus was daring them to really believe in Him.

Do you realize the Apostles already witnessed 18 miracles before the multiplying of bread and fish?

Here they are in chronological order:

1. Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding in Cana.

2. Jesus heals an official’s son at Capernaum in Galilee.

3. Jesus drives out an evil spirit from a man in Capernaum.

4. Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, who was sick with fever.

5. Jesus heals many sick and oppressed.

6. First miraculous catch of fish on the Lake of Gennesaret.

7. Jesus cleanses a man with leprosy.

8. Jesus heals a centurion’s paralyzed servant in Capernaum.

9. Jesus heals a paralytic who was let down from the roof.

10. Jesus heals a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath.

11. Jesus raises a widow’s son from the dead in Nain.

12. Jesus calms a storm on the sea.

13. Jesus casts demons into a herd of pigs.

14. Jesus heals a woman in the crowd with an issue of blood.

15. Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter back to life.

16. Jesus heals two blind men.

17. Jesus heals a man who was unable to speak.

18. Jesus heals an invalid at Bethesda.

After witnessing all these wonderful miracles, especially two people raised from the dead, the Apostles should have replied “Jesus, we can’t feed them, but we believe you can!”

Instead, they whined. They failed the test of faith.

“This is a deserted place…it’s already late…dismiss the crowds…buy food for themselves.”

How disappointed Jesus must have been. He probably thought, “You still don’t believe?” Jesus must have been completely exasperated with the Apostles when He said, “Bring them here to me.”

Someone once wrote that God miraculously created the world in six days, rested on the seventh and took complaints on the eighth.

Christianity is not signing up for a religion club. It is a living relationship with Jesus. It is a relationship where I confidently bring everything to Jesus in faith with no doubts He can take care of it.

My faith in Jesus says that He does for me what I cannot do for myself. I live by 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

My weakness leads me to Jesus. When I bring my needs to Jesus, He always satisfies. I accept my human weaknesses because that is when the Lord’s powerful grace will shine through me. A believing Christian has no need to whine and no time to sit on the pity pot.

There is another lesson in the multiplying of the loaves and fish. This miracle is a symbol of how God loves. A woman with several children was asked how she divides her love. She replied, “You don’t divide. You multiply.” God’s love is limitless. He lavishes Grace upon us.

When you “bring it to Jesus,” you never leave hungry. I dare you to believe.