In his general audience address on Wednesday, August 17, Pope Francis said,
In our continuing catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we now consider the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. In Saint Matthew’s account, Jesus wishes to withdraw and pray, but seeing the multitudes, is moved by compassion and chooses to remain with them. By instructing his disciples to feed the crowd, he teaches them to have faith and invites them to share in his concern for those in need. The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes is a concrete sign of that merciful concern. Matthew, in telling us that Jesus took the bread, looked up to heaven, then blessed and broke it for the crowds, clearly evokes the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Through our partaking of the Eucharist, we not only receive spiritual nourishment, but, conformed ever more fully to the Lord, we become signs of his merciful presence to those around us. May all of us, as members of Christ’s body, seek to bring to our families and communities, and especially to those most in need, the nourishment of God’s closeness, mercy and love.