Editor’s note: Today, I am very happy to begin a special three week feature for our readers. For each of the next few Wednesdays, I will be sharing with you an excerpt from the amazing new resource, The New Catholic Illustrated Bible. Published by Saint Benedict Press, edited by Amy Welborn, and masterfully illustrated by Lars Frederiksen, this newly released Catholic edition story Bible is a treasure that belongs in every home. For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories and illustrations directly from The New Catholic Illustrated Bible. I hope you enjoy them, and that you’ll strongly consider making this beautiful resource a part of your family’s spiritual library. LMH
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Jesus got into a boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee. When he heard that John the Baptizer had been beheaded by King Herod, he went to a deserted place, not far from the city of Bethsaida. Jesus brought his disciples with him, saying, “Come with me, away from where people live, so we can rest.”
However, so many people were going to see Jesus that he and the disciples hardly had a chance to eat. After they got into the boat, a large crowd saw them leave and followed them on foot along the edge of the sea. Many other people in the towns along the way joined them. they brought those who were sick in hopes that Jesus would heal them. When the boats landed at the shore, the huge crowd was already there. Jesus welcomed them. He was filled with love for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. he spoke to them about the kingdom of God. He healed everyone who needed to be healed.
It was getting to be late in the day. The twelve apostles said to Jesus, “Send the people away so that they can go into the villages and buy some food for themselves. There is no food here.”
Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” He asked Philip, who was from Bethsaida, “Where should we buy food for all these people?” Jesus knew what he would do. He asked Philip this question to test him.
Philip answered, “Eight months’ wages would not be enough to give each man even a bite.”
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said, “Here is a boy who has five small barley loaves and two small fish, but what is that among so many people?”
Jesus told them to have the people sit down on the green grass in groups of fifty and one hundred. there was plenty of grass in that area. So the people sat down. There were about five thousand men there, not counting women and children. Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. Looking up to heaven, he blessed it, thanking God for it. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples. They gave it to all the people. Everyone had as much to eat as he wanted.
Then Jesus told the disciples, “Pick up the bread and fish that are left over. None of it will be wasted.” When they were finished, there were twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish!
The people said, “Surely this is the Messiah who is coming into the world!” Jesus knew that the people wanted to take him by force and make him be their king. He told the disciples to go across the sea to Capernaum, where he would meet them later. Then Jesus sent the crowds away and went up the mountain to pray.
Those who had witnessed the multiplying of the loaves and fish to feed thousands of people hoped that Jesus would become an earthly king. they were impressed that their bellies were full. they didn’t seem very interested in God’s words for them. Jesus said to them, “You are looking for me because you have eaten bread and were well fed. Don’t look for the food that spoils, but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. God the Father has set his seal on him.”
They asked, “What should we do to do the works of God?”
Jesus answered, “the work of God is this, that you believe in him whom he has sent. I am the Bread of Life. Come to me and you will never hunger. Believe in me and you will never thirst. I will never turn away those whom my Father causes to come to me; instead, I will raise them up on the last day. God’s will is that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Those who listened still did not understand. they continued asking questions so Jesus explained:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
Some of his disciples said, “these are hard words. Who can accept them?” Some even stopped following Jesus because of them and returned to their former lives.
Jesus said to the twelve apostles, “Do you want to leave, too?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
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