< <  

Tuesday, January 4, 2000

  > >

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

1 John 4:7-10
Psalm 72
Mark 6:34-44

View Readings
Similar Reflections

facts it to me

Jesus "broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to distribute. He divided the two fish among all of them and they ate until they had their fill." —Mark 6:41-42

In the Christmas season, we celebrate the historical event that God became man and was born in Bethlehem. Christmas should not be about fictitious reindeer, snowmen, and other cartoon characters. Christmas is about the Word of God literally becoming flesh (Jn 1:14). Jesus' birth in a stable at Bethlehem is not just a symbol but a fact.

In today's Gospel reading, we read about another fact — the multiplication of the loaves and the fish. This multiplication is not a midrash but a literal miracle. Jesus did not get people to share their supper; He created their supper out of nothing. The apostles knew that the people in the crowd did not have food (Mk 6:36). The apostles were of the same culture as the crowd. They knew the habits of these people much better than we do. They knew it would take "two hundred days' wages for bread to feed" the crowd (Mk 6:37). Even if the apostles weren't accountants, it was easy for them to count 5,000 men since "the people took their places in hundreds and fifties" (Mk 6:40, 44). Jesus gave the loaves and fish to the apostles the distribute (Mk 6:41). They could see whether the loaves and fish were being created or merely unpacked. The objective interpretation of this Bible passage for almost two thousand years has been that Jesus did a literal, historical, factual miracle by multiplying the loaves and fish (see Catechism, 1335).

In this Christmas season and in this Great Jubilee year, believe in miracles literally.

Prayer:  Father, may I filter my life through Your word and not vice versa.

Promise:  "Love, then, consists in this: not that we have loved God but that He has loved us and has sent His Son as an Offering for our sins." —1 Jn 4:10

Praise:  Losing her own mother at an early age, St. Elizabeth took great comfort in the idea of being mothered by the Blessed Mother, who eventually led her to the Catholic Church.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 21, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1999