Did the Feeding of the 5,000 Really Happen? Modernism in the Church

I am currently in RCIA. While I realize it may not be appropriate to take all of the Bible literally, where is the line?

In my readings and discussions, I have encountered many Catholics who say that the Creation account is not really literal and it OK to be an evolutionary theist. OK, there may be some wiggle room there.

How about the Feeding of the 5,000? Did Christ really create enough bread and fish to feed so many? Recently, I have even heard attempts to spiritualize that miracle among others.

It seems to me that there is an extreme tinge of modernism afoot in the the Catholic church. What say ye?

i say that if Jesus didn’t actually bless the bread and fish and really feed those gathered 2000 years ago, it must be because He couldn’t really do it. in that case, He is a weenie of a god and of little use to me today or, more importantly, on the day i die.
it does bother me when i hear the explanation that He actually casued everyone to share what they’d brought. if thats what happened, why the lie about the miracle? why not say that’s what He did. come on folks, this is the dude who made everything out of NOTHING!! surely, He can make more out of something. that would seem a simple follow-up act.

thanks for listening, love and peace, terry

From my experience with RCIA, I consider that acronym to mean Relativised Christianity in America.

My Bride converted to Catholicism and was catechised by me and our Pastor.

You come to the Faith at a tough time in America. Keep your ears and eyes open. If there is an Idult Mass in your area, seek instruction from one of their priests.

Other than that, read the Catechism and pray as we will pray for you.

[quote=Catholicguy]From my experience with RCIA, I consider that acronym to mean Relativised Christianity in America.
[/quote]

Unfortunately, RCIA is only as good as the people running it let it be.

Any RCIA progam today that does not use the catechism should be considered very suspect. I would recommend parish shopping if you can to find one that does.

That’s why it’s the only miracle to show up in all the gospels. Jesus can turn bread and wine into His Body and Blood, but we shouldn’t think that He multiplied the loaves and fishes–I don’t think so.

The only symbolism I’m aware of is that the first miracle of loaves and fishes fed 5,000–the number 5 based on the number of scrolls in the Pentateuch. They collected 12 baskets of leftovers, 1 for each tribe of Israel. The second miraculous feeding fed 4,000–the number 4 representing completeness as in the 4 directions, and collected 7 baskets–the number of entirety. All this as an indication of salvation being preached to the Jews first, followed by the universal salvation promised to Abraham.

As an aside, has anyone else here seen Viva Christo Rei (I’m no Spaniard, so please forgive the spelling)? It is a video made by a charasmatic Catholic community in Texas who have worked with Mexicans who live on the rubbish tips, just across the border. The community is adamant that, during a Christmas soup kitchen in the early ‘80s, they fed many times the number of people for whom they had catered, and were convinced that it was a “multiplication miracle”. Several people, both Mexican and American, testified that this thing had happened. At the end, there was a lot of left overs.

Make of it what you will, but I found it convincing. If God can do that now, I have no doubt that he did far more when he walked the earth!

It’s funny because this very miracle has been on my mind recently. At the risk of possibly agreeing, I would like to suggest the following:

I too was told about the idea that the miracle was not so much about Jesus being able to multiply, but the fact that people were all lead to share what they have. Af first, I did not like the idea at all. Afterall, he is a God of miracles and can do anything. It was obvious what happened!!!

But then I heard it another way. Basically put, what is harder for Jesus to do - perform a miracle and multiply, or change the hearts of His people to live according to his divine law without taking away their freel will? For me, the answer is clear.

Do I know for sure what happened? No…He can do anything He wants. But the one thing He won’t do is take aware our free will. It is only through our free will that we can choose to love or hate one another.

The other point I came across was the many times that Jesus was moved to heal people but asked them not to tell anyone. He wants us to want to come to Him - not because he can perform miracles, but because we love Him.

As a society, we are very caught up in sensationalizing, and the grandiose idea of a miracle is just another example. Again, I am not trying to minimize Jesus and His miracles, He is an all powerful God. However, as a result of this thinking, we fail to see miracles in the simplest of things.

For me, it is a miracle to see thousands of people giving all they have to others. As a result of this sharing, they were able to feed everyone with much left over. For me, it is a miracle when a troubled teen takes a moment to get real.

It is all about those small miracles that bring us closer to HIm - and isn’t that really His ultimate goal.

God Bless

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the story of Creation and the story of the Fall of Mankind recorded in Genesis express the truth in symbolic language, see paragraphs 337, 362 and 396.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting from the dogmatic Vatican II document, Dei Verbum, says:
“The Church holds firmly that the four Gospels, ‘whose historicity she unhesitatingly affirm, faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, while he lived among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation, until the day when he was take up.’
. . .
‘The sacred authors, in writing the four Gospels, selected certain of the many elements which had been handed on, either orraly or already in written form; others they synthesized or explained with an eye to the situation of the churches, while sustaining the form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus.’” (paragraph 126)

To me, this means that if the Bible says, Jesus multiplied loaves and fish, walked on water, raised the dead, cured the sick, cast out demons, suffered, died and rose from the dead bodily, ascended bodily to heaven, etc., then the honest truth is that he really did it. If the Bible says, Jesus taught about the indissolubility of marriage, Satan, eternal punishment, etc., then the honest truth is that he really taught it.

Todd

[quote=Robin L. in TX]That’s why it’s the only miracle to show up in all the gospels. Jesus can turn bread and wine into His Body and Blood, but we shouldn’t think that He multiplied the loaves and fishes–I don’t think so.

The only symbolism I’m aware of is that the first miracle of loaves and fishes fed 5,000–the number 5 based on the number of scrolls in the Pentateuch. They collected 12 baskets of leftovers, 1 for each tribe of Israel. The second miraculous feeding fed 4,000–the number 4 representing completeness as in the 4 directions, and collected 7 baskets–the number of entirety. All this as an indication of salvation being preached to the Jews first, followed by the universal salvation promised to Abraham.
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What about the wedding at Cana? Or the healing of the sick? Or Lazaraus? Weren’t they ALL miracles?

Curious too - where do you figure the symbolism? I do believe Christ asked the disciples to separate everyone into groups of fifty and that he fed them ALL.

These miracles AND MORE are recorded in the bible. Just out of curiousity…are you Catholic?

When I first volunteered to be an RCIA sponsor one of the leaders suggested that the real miracle was that Jesus was able to get people to share the food they had with them. My first thought was that all those fish must have really stunk. But then I realized she was trying to rewrite the Bible and decided I needed to be a catechist. Been doing that for about 4years.

[quote=Funky Cedars]i say that if Jesus didn’t actually bless the bread and fish and really feed those gathered 2000 years ago, it must be because He couldn’t really do it. in that case, He is a weenie of a god and of little use to me today or, more importantly, on the day i die.
it does bother me when i hear the explanation that He actually casued everyone to share what they’d brought. if thats what happened, why the lie about the miracle? why not say that’s what He did. come on folks, this is the dude who made everything out of NOTHING!! surely, He can make more out of something. that would seem a simple follow-up act.

thanks for listening, love and peace, terry
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you got that right :smiley:

[quote=Poisson]When I first volunteered to be an RCIA sponsor one of the leaders suggested that the real miracle was that Jesus was able to get people to share the food they had with them. My first thought was that all those fish must have really stunk. But then I realized she was trying to rewrite the Bible and decided I needed to be a catechist. Been doing that for about 4years.
[/quote]

Somebody has got to teach the truth - way to go.

Yes.

I too have heard this in my LAST parish. I think when we hear things like this from our church, it lessens the DIVINITY of our Lord.

Here is a quote from EWTN.org - re: the Miracles of the fish

Let me conclude with an important quote from Vatican II, The Constitution on Divine Revelation. This text makes clear that the Gospels are historical. To deny the miracle of the loaves as presented in the four Gospels is to reject the teaching of the Church, articulated repeatedly and as recently as Vatican II.

  1. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historicity the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1 ). Indeed, after the Ascension to the Lord the Apostles handed on to their hearers what He had said and done. This they did with that clearer understanding which they enjoyed[3] after they had been instructed by the glorious events of Christ’s life and taught by the light of the Spirit of truth.[2] The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches, and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus.[4] For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who “themselves from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word” we might know “the truth” concerning those matters about which we have been instructed (see Luke 1:2-4). ©

Father Echert

I believe it as true in the literal sense. Although personally, if someone handed me a raw fish, I don’t know how happy I would be. :wink:

It never says they cooked the things. Maybe they liked sushi… :hmmm:

There is a tendency in Modernists to be acutely embarrassed by the miraculous.

Yes it did. The best retort to this garbage view was from an old priest who heard it during a retreat. After the young priest prayed, thanking God that Jesus had exampled sharing, the old priest prayed: "And thank YOU, Father, FOR THE TWELVE EXTRA BASKESTS LEFT OVER!" Shut the young heretic up, it did.

Many years ago I served in our military and was stationed in the middle east. So when I first heard this mythical interpretation of the miracle I burst out laughing!! The passage says that Jesus had been teaching awhile, that the people were hungry AND there was NOT food for them to eat. Semitic people tend to be very generous with what they do have, and sharing is a cultural norm there. So if they had had the food, there would have been NO NEED for the disciples to mention, and for Jesus to do the miracle - it wasn’t the only time He taught large groups, but it’s the only time the miracle is recorded.
And to ‘hide’ food - especially FISH! - under your cloak in hot middle eastern weather long enough to get hungry, you will stink! Very unappetizing - fish that not only smells like rotten fish but rotten fish with B.0. as well. Yecchhh!

[quote=Catholicguy]From my experience with RCIA, I consider that acronym to mean Relativised Christianity in America.

My Bride converted to Catholicism and was catechised by me and our Pastor.

You come to the Faith at a tough time in America. Keep your ears and eyes open. If there is an Idult Mass in your area, seek instruction from one of their priests.

Other than that, read the Catechism and pray as we will pray for you.
[/quote]

My experience is very much like yours. My wife went through RCIA and, needless to say, I’ve had to greatly supplement her knowledge of the faith. In one of her classes, a deacon stated that Jesus was glad to be rid of John the Baptist since he was a trouble-maker. Also, someone was invited to a class to talk about the positive aspects of the goddess Sophia. With such poor catechesis rampant in the Church today, it is imperative that each Catholic take the initiative and learn as much as he can about the faith. Unfortunately, he must also be extremely discerning in choosing study materials. That’s one of the reasons Catholic Answers is so valuable. You can trust them to provide the best, accurate information and materials.

I don’t see any valid reason for doubting the authenticity of the Gospel account of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. As infinite God, Jesus is able to perform any kind of miracle imaginable. When the Gospel accounts were written, many of the witnesses to the related events, including the miracles, were still alive and could easily have contradicted the Gospels. However, I’m unaware of this type of debunking having occurred among early Christians.

I’ve also heard a homily where a priest stated that he believed that the miracle was that Jesus got everyone to share what they had (which is one of many reasons why I left that parish).

If the miracle were only one of sharing, then it negates the Church’s teaching that the feeding of the 5,000 by Christ prefigures his feeding of us through the Eucharist.

In addition, in Matt. 16:9 Jesus scolds the apostles for being of little faith and not understand the miracles of the feeding of the 5,000 or of the 4,000 - the meaning being that Christ feeds us with the Bread of Life. If it were just about sharing, what would be so hard for them to understand?

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