In today’s first reading the prophet Elisha feeds 100 people during a time of famine with 20 small barley loaves. That seems rather miraculous until you compare it to Jesus’ feeding 5,000 with seven loaves and two fish. Juxtaposing the two events illustrates both the fulfillment and surpassing of the Old Covenant in Jesus Christ and his ministry. It should be noted that the two miracles were preceded by and made possible due to the generosity of people willing to share what they had with others in need.
The Sunday gospel selections during ordinary time of year B are generally a somewhat continuous reading from the gospel of Mark. We switch this Sunday, however, to the account of the multiplication of loaves and fishes from the gospel of John. The major difference between this and the account of the same event in Mark 8:1-8 occurs in who provides the food. In Mark, the apostles themselves have the five loaves and two fish. Here a little boy comes forward to offer Jesus the lunch his family has brought. God invites us to be generous in sharing our material blessings, time and talents for the good of the broader community . . . a catalyst which God can then bless and multiply many times over.