Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

catechetical resourses for the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative RCIA in

the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative adult

education in the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

Exploring the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative Early

Church Fathers
Crossroads Initiatitve, a ministry of Dr. Marcellino

   D'Ambrosio        
 
 
 

Hidden Meaning of the Loaves & Fishes

Dr. D'Ambrosio - Holy Land Pilgrimage

 

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio - Catholic Online ResourcesMiracle of Loaves and Fishes

(Why Barley?)

by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Symbology - Da Vinci CodeFinding the hidden meanings. Unraveling mysteries. Deciphering symbols. The thrill inherent in all this is partly why Dan Brown’s book, the Da Vinci Code, sold so well.

 

But Brown’s secret code, the 2000 year chain of clues supposedly leading to the true identity of Jesus and his holy grail, is simply a parody of the real mystery embedded in history. The writer of this authentic "symbology" is the Holy Spirit and the code book is the Bible. For thousands of years people have “searched the Scriptures” under the guidance of the same Spirit who inspired them, looking for connections between people, places, things. They’ve discovered one coherent story of salvation history amidst many different books, written in different genres and styles, by many different human writers over the course of centuries.

 

Barley LoavesThis Sunday, the Church has put together readings to bring out connections that many of us would fail to see without a little help. Just about every Christian has heard the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, in fact numerous times. But we’ve probably overlooked the fact that they were barley loaves. What significance could that have?

Plenty. First of all, someone in the Old Testament had multiplied loaves, and they too were barley loaves. Elisha was the successor of Elijah, the greatest of all the prophets.

 

Elijah had multiplied flour and oil to save a widow and her son from starvation. Elisha did a bit better than his master, multiplying 20 barley loaves so as to feed 100, with some even left over. But in the Gospel, Jesus multiplies 5 barley loaves and feeds 5,000, leaving 12 baskets left over. We’re talking serious one-upmanship here.

 

Miracle of the loaves and fishesSo here’s one clear message: Jesus is a prophet greater than even Elijah and Elisha.

 

But there is someone else who is referenced here, though you have to look a bit harder to see him. Did anyone else in the Old Testament provide bread for God’s people in the wilderness? Of course! Moses and the manna. What is the symbolic number associated with Moses? There are five books of Moses which are called the Torah or Pentateuch. No wonder Jesus starts with five barley loaves. He is transforming the Mosaic Law into something much bigger, greater, and more nourishing. Moses predicted that God would raise up a prophet like himself (Deut 18:18). The people got the point–Jesus had to slip away to avoid them making him king (Jn 6:14-15).

 

But let’s get back to those barley loaves. There is even more symbolism here to probe. Barley is the first grain to be harvested in the Spring, and the feast of unleavened bread celebrates the first fruits of the barley harvest. Jesus performs this miracle as Passover approaches, and will go on later in John 6 to explain that he himself is the bread of life. The miracle of the loaves points backwards to great events in the Old Testament to give us clues as to who Jesus really is. But it also points forward to the future, to what Jesus will do in the upper room on the night before he died and which will made present again in every Eucharist. The people recline where there is much grass, verdant pastures (Psalm 23), and the Good Shepherd, after giving thanks (eucharistia in biblical Greek) feeds them with rich fare that causes their cup to run over with blessings of not only earthly satisfaction, but eternal life.

 

Miracle of the loaves and fish

How many baskets of scraps are left over? Twelve, the mystical number symbolizing God’s people. Twelve tribes, twelve patriarchs, and now twelve apostles, the patriarchs of the New Israel gathering up the remnants of a feast that will be the new covenant meal of God’s new people, the celebration of their deliverance, the new food for the journey to the true promised land, heaven.

 

But how about the fish? What do they symbolize? You’ll have to do some research and figure that one out for yourself!

 

This was originally published in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection upon the readings for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, liturgical cycle B (2Kgs4:42-44; Ps 145; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15). It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

 

 

Follow Us -

Join us on FacebookJoin us on Facebook

 

 

Join us on TwitterJoin us on Twitter

 

Download and Print The Prodigal Son

Click here to download and print The Big Deal about Barley!

 

For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.

Win a Free CD - Catholic Online Resources

To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!

Great Adventure Bible Time Line Catholic Bible Study by Jeff Cavins -- DVD
 Jeff Cavins, Great Adventure Time Line Catholic Bible Study
The Bible Timeline provides a clear understanding of the underlying Scriptural narrative, which is essential to all Bible reading and study. The 24-part Bible Timeline Bible Study dives deep into the Biblical story. A combination of individual reading and study, group discussion, and lecture commentary guides participants as they read through the 14 narrative books of The Bible Timeline and discover the meaning of each in light of the whole.

Feast of Faith DVD & Workbook
 The Year of the Eucharist, Feast of Faith, The Eucharist, Mass, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Pope John Paul II In this enlightening, four-part adult faith formation series developed for the Eucharist, Dr. D’Ambrosio offers profound reflections and practical suggestions to make the Holy Eucharist more truly the “source and summit” of our Christian experience. DVD and Workbook Set for the Year of the Eucharist.


Early Church FathersHistory of the Church Bundle -

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the Church’s History, like who are The Early Church Fathers and why do they matter in our modern Church? Find out with Early Church Fathers: Who They are and Why They Matter and Early Church Fathers VOL I & II. These CDs will open up a whole new depth to your understanding of the Church and presented by Dr. Italy – you know that they will come to life! But, don’t stop with the Early Church Fathers – find out what REALLY happened in the divide of the Church! Christianity Divided, a 2 CD set will take you through the history of the Orthodox and Protestant divisions in the Church.

This is a limited time offer – a $63.00 value for only $47.25! That is a 25% savings and you get F*R*E*E shipping! Order yours today – this bundle is going to go fast!


Walking Toward Eternity - Starter Pack
 Walking Toward Eternity is an inspiring series designed to help participants live their faith more fully. Through daily prayerful meditation with Scripture (lectio divina), they will be drawn into an intimate and life-changing encounter with Christ.

Daring to Walk the Walk, the first series of Walking Toward Eternity, introduces seven key virtues and outlines practical steps for living them out in daily life. Walking Toward Eternity is an inspiring series designed to help participants live their faith more fully. Through daily prayerful meditation with Scripture (lectio divina), they will be drawn into an intimate and life-changing encounter with Christ.
Daring to Walk the Walk, the first series of Walking Toward Eternity, introduces seven key virtues and outlines practical steps for living them out in daily life.


I Believe - The Heart of the Catholic Faith - DVD Set
In this dynamic, four-part faith formation series, on the Creed, Dr. D'Ambrosio explains how this expression of the basic beliefs of Roman Catholicism is relevant to our personal relationship with God.


Personal Prayer - Pathway to Joy - CD
 Personal Prayer Pathway to Joy, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Catholic Faith Everyone knows that personal prayer is important. You can't expect to deepen a relationship with God talking with Him only once a week! But how, in the midst of the busy, noisy life we all lead, can we develop a pattern of daily prayer that really works? And if we are successful in carving out some moments for prayer, what do we do? How should we spend that time in way that would be most fruitful?


Home | Site Map | Links | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Free Newsletter | Win a CD | Calender | Donate Now!
A ministry of Crossroads Productions, Inc. + PO Box 271227 + Flower Mound, TX 75027 + 1.800.803.0118 + a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.