Feeding of the 5000: How much food was there?
Entering into prayer prior to beginning to read and then deeply meditating on scripture can help bring them alive (Lectio Divina). A key way to engage the Gospels is to attempt to dig in deeply, attempting to put one’s self in the Gospels to get a better “eye witness” view of what is happening.
Today’s Gospel reading offers an outstanding opportunity to put the astounding impact of one of Jesus’ miracles in clearer focus.
Today’s reading is Mark’s account of the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:24-44). In the typical style of Mark (Church tradition teaches that Mark was a disciple of St. Peter’s), the narration is ‘to the point’.
The basic story is known to us: Jesus is teaching in a deserted place. There are 5000 men there (not including women and children). It is late. The people are hungry. Jesus tells the disciples to feed the people. The disciples say they don’t have enough money (about 8 months of wages). When asked by Jesus, the disciples say they have 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jesus directs them to hand out the food. The people eat. Jesus has the disciples pick up the fragments and there are 12 baskets remaining.
What would it have been like to be there? How much food did Jesus actually create?
Short answer: An amazing amount.
But how much?
Let’s do some estimating (and focus only on the bread):
- 5000 men + one women and one child per man = 15,000 people.
- Each person eats about 1/3 of a loaf of bread.
- 15,000 people X 1/3 loaf per person = 5000 loaves.
5000 loaves. That is a lot. How much?
Here’s how much: 5000 loaves of bread would fill up about 1.2 semi-truck trailers.
This is amazing: Jesus makes over a semi-load of bread appear from nowhere! Truly Jesus is the Son of God!