This weekend’s gospel is the story of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.
If you hear that lame interpretation, “Wasn’t it wonderful that the real miracle that everybody shared their lunch please try very, very hard not to blow a huge ripe raspberry.
Here is where that interpretation comes from and why it is wrong, wrong, wrong.
- The interpretation was first proposed by the 19th c. German, Protestant, rationalist Biblical scholar Heinrich Paulus. It was then popularized by Albert Schweitzer. Rationalists do not allow for any miraculous element, therefore the interpretation is based in a faulty and un Catholic philosophy
- Paulus suggested that Jesus got “the rich people” to share their lunch with the others. Pitre points out that Paulus was anti-Semitic and this is implicitly anti-Semitic casting the Jews as being rich and greedy.
- There is nothing in the text about people having packed their own lunches, about there being rich people who shared. The whole thing is an invention–and this from the Biblical scholars who love to suggest that the New Testament is nothing but a creative fiction!
- The interpretation carries a socialistic bias. Yes, of course it is right for everyone to share and for the rich to be responsible in the use of their wealth, but the story isn’t about that at all. This socio economic interpretation is foisted on the text, and it is most popular amongst Christians who just happen to have a left of center socio economic agenda.
- It cuts straight across the clear teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1335 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.
- It destroys the obvious Eucharistic context for the story–making the very important sixth chapter of John not a passage of Eucharistic teaching, but one of social do goodism.
- It destroys the miraculous element which is clear from the story, the context and John’s meaning of a “sign”
- It is Protestant
- It contradicts the clear meaning of the text and the 2000 year tradition of how the story was understood.
- It’s just really, really dumb.
H/T to my friend Brant Pitre. If you don’t subscribe to Catholic Productions for your knowledge of the Bible, you should!