In today’s Gospel passage we read the story of Jesus multiplying the fish and loaves. (Matthew 14). It is one of the miracles of Jesus which has all the trappings of the miracle genre. That is, its big and spectacular—Jesus feeds 10,000+ people with a few scraps of food! Scripture says 5,000 men were fed, not counting the women and children. So we can extrapolate a number in the five digits. And for those who want to pass it off to a spiritual feed, consider that scripture notes that they picked up 12 baskets of leftovers, just to be sure that it was a multiplication of tangible food. The miracle is supernatural and therefore demonstrates Jesus’ divinity.
To me, the real message comes to us in the lines that follow the story. There we read that after the miracle, Jesus “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” Here is the REAL unusual part of the story, because this was a time for Jesus when everything was going right. He was at the height of his popularity. He had thousands following him. He was healing the sick. He just performed this miracle and fed the people to their heart’s (stomach’s) content. And now, he takes time to withdraw and pray.
Unfortunately, for many of us, we find it necessary to pray during our difficulties, when we’re lonely and when we’re not succeeding. In the message today, we see that Jesus finds the time to RETREAT and to PRAY, when all is going well. What a beautiful example our Lord sets up for all of us. During this Summer season, take some time off for real re-creation. Retreat, pray and meditate.
– Fr. Vazken