In the Angelus today, August 1st, 2021, Pope Francis taught that the multiplication of the loaves and fishes in the Gospel was a miracle:
“The people, in fact, had witnessed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, but they had not grasped the meaning of that gesture: they stopped at the external miracle, they stopped at the material bread: there only, without going beyond, to the meaning of this.” [Angelus]
Francis calls the multiplication of the loaves “the miracle” witnessed by the people. They knew it was a miracle. The error of some of them was in stopping at “the external miracle” and not going beyond it to the meaning of this teaching miracle.
And that is also the error of those who have previously rebuked Pope Francis, claiming that he only believes the multiplication of the loaves and fishes was due to sharing. Rather, a true miracle occurred, and one of its meanings is sharing, generosity, faith in the generosity of God, and in the abundance of God’s blessings to us through miracles, grace, and providence.
And this Angelus today is a mild rebuke to the opponents of Pope Francis, to those who claimed he thought it was only a sharing and not a miracle. What does he say to these opponents, these false accusers? He says they have stopped at the external miracle, and not grasped the meaning of that gesture by the Son of God. His critics were only concerned with whether that miracle was labeled a miracle, and not concerned that this, one of the teaching miracles of Christ, has a greater meaning.
One meaning, we know, is to foreshadow the Eucharist, which allows the one Christ to be present in every host throughout the world, in a wonderful miraculous multiplication of the one Lord Jesus. Another meaning is the multiplicity of benefits from the Eucharist in the Church. And then we, becoming like Christ through the Sacraments, especially Confession and Communion, then multiply the benefits of the Gospel by going out to the world, each of us as imitators of the one Christ, each of us like individual loaves to feed the Gospel to the world.
Who falsely accused Pope Francis of not believing in the miracle of the loaves? And will they correct their false claim about the Vicar of Christ?
Ronald L Conte Jr