Multiplication of the Loaves - Not a true miracle?

Please help!!! My parish pastor just gave a homily about the multiplication of the loaves from the gospel of Matthew. He stated that we should not take the story literally; that the “miracle” here was not that Jesus supernaturally fed the entire crowd, but that people shared what they had, so that everyone was fed. In other words, this is not a miracle, just a nice story about the importance of sharing & community.

I just cannot believe this is consistent with Catholic teaching. I have understood this as an actual miracle performed by Jesus, which is an important prefiguring of the Eucharist. Can you please shed some light on this priest’s explanation? Should I speak to him about his teaching? Thank you & God Bless your ministry!

You are correct that Jesus did indeed perform miracles. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches, “Jesus accompanies his words with many ‘mighty works and wonders and signs,’ which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah. The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him” (CCC 547-548).

There are very significant meanings behind Jesus’ miracles. The catechism explains, “In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, for he himself is the meaning of all these signs” (CCC 1151).

Your understanding that the miracles of multiplying the loaves and fish (Mt 14:13-21 & 32-39) prefigured the Eucharist is correct. “The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist” (CCC 1335).

You may want to graciously inform your pastor about these Church teachings in the catechism so that he will teach correctly in the future.

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