St Mark 6:33-56

In St Mark 6:33-56 Our Lord feeds the crowd, and walks on water:

33 Et viderunt eos abeuntes, et cognoverunt multi: et pedestres de omnibus civitatibus concurrerunt illuc, et prævenerunt eos. 34 Et exiens vidit turbam multam Jesus: et misertus est super eos, quia erant sicut oves non habentes pastorem, et cœpit docere multa. 35 Et cum jam hora multa fieret, accesserunt discipuli ejus, dicentes: Desertus est locus hic, et jam hora præteriit: 36 dimitte illos, ut euntes in proximas villas et vicos, emant sibi cibos, quos manducent. 37 Et respondens ait illis: Date illis vos manducare. Et dixerunt ei: Euntes emamus ducentis denariis panes, et dabimus illis manducare. 38 Et dicit eis: Quot panes habetis? ite, et videte. Et cum cognovissent, dicunt: Quinque, et duos pisces. 39 Et præcepit illis ut accumbere facerent omnes secundum contubernia super viride fœnum. 40 Et discubuerunt in partes per centenos et quinquagenos. 41 Et acceptis quinque panibus et duobus pisces, intuens in cælum, benedixit, et fregit panes, et dedit discipulis suis, ut ponerent ante eos: et duos pisces divisit omnibus. 42 Et manducaverunt omnes, et saturati sunt. 43 Et sustulerunt reliquias, fragmentorum duodecim cophinos plenos, et de piscibus. 44 Erant autem qui manducaverunt quinque millia virorum.45 Et statim coëgit discipulos suos ascendere navim, ut præcederent eum trans fretum ad Bethsaidam, dum ipse dimitteret populum. 46 Et cum dimisisset eos, abiit in montem orare. 47 Et cum sero esset, erat navis in medio mari et ipse solus in terra. 48 Et videns eos laborantes in remigando (erat enim ventus contrarius eis) et circa quartam vigiliam noctis venit ad eos ambulans supra mare: et volebat præterire eos. 49 At illi ut viderunt eum ambulantem supra mare, putaverunt phantasma esse, et exclamaverunt. 50 Omnes enim viderunt eum, et conturbati sunt. Et statim locutus est cum eis, et dixit eis: Confidite, ego sum: nolite timere. 51 Et ascendit ad illos in navim, et cessavit ventus. Et plus magis intra se stupebant: 52 non enim intellexerunt de panibus: erat enim cor eorum obcæcatum.53 Et cum transfretassent, venerunt in terram Genesareth, et applicuerunt. 54 Cumque egressi essent de navi, continuo cognoverunt eum: 55 et percurrentes universam regionem illam, cœperunt in grabatis eos, qui se male habebant, circumferre, ubi audiebant eum esse. 56 Et quocumque introibat, in vicos, vel in villas aut civitates, in plateis ponebant infirmos, et deprecabantur eum, ut vel fimbriam vestimenti ejus tangerent, et quotquot tangebant eum, salvi fiebant.

[33] And they saw them going away, and many knew: and they ran flocking thither on foot from all the cities, and were there before them. [34] And Jesus going out saw a great multitude: and he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things. [35] And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came to him, saying: This is a desert place, and the hour is now past: [36] Send them away, that going into the next villages and towns, they may buy themselves meat to eat. [37] And he answering said to them: Give you them to eat. And they said to him: Let us go and buy bread for two hundred pence, and we will give them to eat. [38] And he saith to them: How many loaves have you? go and see. And when they knew, they say: Five, and two fishes. [39] And he commanded them that they should make them all sit down by companies upon the green grass. [40] And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties. [41] And when he had taken the five loaves, and the two fishes: looking up to heaven, he blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave to his disciples to set before them: and the two fishes he divided among them all. [42] And they all did eat, and had their fill. [43] And they took up the leavings, twelve full baskets of fragments, and of the fishes. [44] And they that did eat, were five thousand men. [45] And immediately he obliged his disciples to go up into the ship, that they might go before him over the water to Bethsaida, whilst he dismissed the people. [46] And when he had dismissed them, he went up to the mountain to pray. [47] And when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and himself alone on the land. [48] And seeing them labouring in rowing, (for the wind was against them,) and about the fourth watch of the night, he cometh to them walking upon the sea, and he would have passed by them. [49] But they seeing him walking upon the sea, thought it was an apparition, and they cried out. [50] For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he spoke with them, and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I, fear ye not. [51] And he went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased: and they were far more astonished within themselves: [52] For they understood not concerning the loaves; for their heart was blinded. [53] And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Genezareth, and set to the shore. [54] And when they were gone out of the ship, immediately they knew him: [55] And running through that whole country, they began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. [56] And whithersoever he entered, into towns or into villages or cities, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch but the hem of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Commentary (from the Catena Aurea of St Thomas)

Teaching the apostles and the crowd - on the virtues of taking stock:

GLOSS. The Evangelist, after relating the death of John, gives an account of those things which Christ did with His disciples after the death of John, saying, And the Apostles gathered themselves together to Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 

PSEUDO-JEROME; For they return to the fountain-head whence the streams flow; those who are sent by God, always offer up thanks for those things which they have received.

THEOPHYL. Let us also learn, when we are sent on any mission, not to go far away, and not to overstep the bounds of the office committed, but to go often to him, who sends us, and report all that we have done and taught; for we must not only teach but act. 

BEDE; Not only do the Apostles tell the Lord what they themselves had done and taught, but also his own and John's disciples together tell him what John had suffered, during the time that they were occupied in teaching, as Matthew relates. It goes on: And he said to them, Come you yourselves apart, &c. 

AUG. This is said to have taken place, after the passion of John, therefore what is first related took place last, for it was by these events that Herod was moved to say, This is John the Baptist, whom I beheaded. 

The need for rest and private prayer:

THEOPHYL. Again, He goes to a desert place from His humility. But Christ makes His disciples rest, that men who are set over others may hear, that they who labor in any work or in the word deserve rest, and ought not to labor continually. 

BEDE; How arose the necessity for giving rest to His disciples, He shows, when He adds, For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat; we may then see how great was the happiness of that time, both from the toil of the teachers, and from the diligence of the learners. It goes on, And embarking into a ship, they departed into a desert place privately. The disciples did not enter into the ship alone, but taking up the Lord with them, they went to a desert place, as Matthew shows. Here He tries the faith of the multitude, and by seeking a desert place. He would see whether they care to follow Him. And they follow Him, and that not on horseback, nor in carriages, but laboriously coming on foot, they show how great is their anxiety for their salvation. 

GLOSS. The Lord indeed by the miracle of the loaves showed that He is the Creator of the world: but now by walking on the waves He proved that He had a body free from the weight of all sin, and by appeasing the winds and by calming the rage of the waves, He declared Himself to be the Master of the elements. Wherefore it is said, And straight way he constrained his disciples to yet into the ship, and to go to the other side before to Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 

PSEUD-CHRYS. This we must understand of Christ, in that He is man; He does it also to teach us to he constant prayer. 

THEOPHYL. But when He had dismissed the crowd, He goes up to pray, for prayer requires rest and silence. 

BEDE; Not every man, however, prays goes up into a mountain, but he alone prays well, who seeks God in prayer. But he who prays for riches or worldly labor, or for the death of his enemy, sends up from the lowest depths his vile prayers to God. John says, When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force and make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. 

It goes on; and when even was come the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 

The Church as the boat struggling on the sea:

BEDE; The disciples indeed, who were still carnal , were amazed at the greatness of His virtue, they could not yet however recognize in Him the truth of the divine Majesty. Therefore it goes on, For their hearts were hardened. But mystically, the toil of the disciples in rowing, and the contrary wind, mark out the labors of the Holy Church, who amidst the beating waves of the world, and the blasts of unclean spirits, strives to teach the repose of her celestial country. 

And well is it said that the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on land, for sometimes the Church is afflicted by a pressure from the Gentiles so overwhelming, that her Redeemer seems to have entirely deserted her, but the Lord sees His own, toiling on the sea, for, lest they faint in tribulations, He strengthens them by the look of His love, and sometimes frees themselves by a visible assistance. Further, in the fourth watch He came to them as daylight approached, for when man lifts up his mind to the light of guidance from on high, the Lord will he with him, and the dangers of temptations will he laid asleep. 

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