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Our readers asked:

Why are there different versions of the Loaves and Fishes story in the Gospels?

Joe Paprocki Answers:

This is a little bit like asking, “Why are there different look-out points for the Grand Canyon?” The Grand Canyon is simply too large, complex, and majestic to be taken in from one and only one perspective. In the same way, the experience of Jesus is too grand to be limited to one perspective. For this reason, we are blessed to have four Gospels – 4 different perspectives of the experience we call Jesus. Each evangelist tends to focus on a different aspect of the story. Interestingly enough, the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes (aka, The Feeding of the 5000) is the only miracle, other than the Resurrection, to appear in all four Gospels. This is an indication to us of the significance of this story which teaches us that Jesus is the only “food” that can satisfy our “hunger.” For Catholics, this food comes to us in the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus. I suggest that you prayerfully read the 4 different accounts of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:34-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15) and reflect on each one, not analyzing them for the purpose of comparing and contrasting, but as prayerful encounters with Jesus as seen through the eyes of the four evangelists.

The Author : Joe Paprocki
Joe Paprocki, D.Min., is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press in Chicago. He has over 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Joe is the author of numerous books on pastoral ministry and catechesis, including The Bible Blueprint, Living the Mass, and bestsellers The Catechist's Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith (all from Loyola Press).
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