Matthew 14: 14-22
Feeding of Five Thousand
Can you find a man's face hidden among the coffee beans?
Trust me, he's in there.
Knowing that there is a face hidden in the picture doesn’t necessarily make it easy to find. Not knowing it is there would render it virtually impossible to notice. The way we look at something will determine what we are likely to see. This is as true for our reading of the Holy scriptures as much as for anything else.
In the history of biblical interpretation, four major types of hermeneutics (the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts) have emerged: the literal, moral, allegorical, and anagogical. I wonder how you interpret today's Gospel reading.
Matthew 14 tells us how Christ fed the multitudes – 5000 men plus the women and children. Have you ever noticed just how that is done? First, we have Christ giving thanks. We then have the bread being broken and distributed - Familiar?
Christ gives thanks - Just as we offer the Anaphora or the "Great Thanksgiving" The central prayer of the Eucharist.
Christ breaks the bread – Just as the priest breaks the bread representing our Lord’s body; the Eucharist.
Christ gives it to his disciples to distribute - representing the Priest distributing communion at the Liturgy,
Finally; the people are filled!
When we gather together for the Divine Liturgy we partake in the greatest of miracles! As the priest stands at the altar, he says, “The Lamb of God is broken and distributed, broken yet not divided, ever eaten, yet never consumed; but sanctifies those who partake.”
After all had eaten of the 5 loaves and 2 fish in today’s gospel account, there are taken up 12 baskets full, one for each of the 12 apostles; and these baskets have been passed down from the apostles into the hands of the bishops and priests in every generation and remain ever full – ever eaten yet never consumed!
Is there anything more important than to receive the “most precious and holy Body and Blood of our Lord and God and saviour, Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and for eternal life”? – what the Fathers call the “Medicine of Immortality.”
The ‘feeding’ miracle(s) are offered to us by all four of the Gospel writers, and in John chapter 6 Christ explains the true significance (John 6:48,51- 56) “I am the bread of life… Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in You…. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day…”. The most serious penalty that can be imposed upon an Orthodox Christian is to be cut off from communion – to be ex-communicated. We need to be coming to the cup at every opportunity, this is life!
However, for many, this is just not possible or wise at this present time and our hearts and prayers go out to those of our community that are not able to be present with us at the Divine Liturgy. We pray that we might soon be able to come together and receive the Holy Mysteries; that we might soon gather again at our Lord’s table together with the entire Church visible and invisible. And that He, who gave himself up for the life of the world, may ever lead us into all that He has prepared for each of us, through partaking in His very Body and Blood.
Father Julian, 2/8/2020
This mainly contains homilies and messages from our priests, although there is some scope to share thoughts and interesting articles which we may want to share with others