Day 262: Miracle Worker

Matthew 14:13-21 Christ’s miraculous feeding of the five thousand foreshadows the countless people who can receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Even the words used-“blessed...broke...gave”-mirror those used by him at the last Supper (Mt 26:26). The crowd, who received the loaves from the Apostles, represents the new People of God, who receive the Eucharist from the successors of the Apostles. (CCC 1329, 1335)

Ch 14:22-33 An image of the Church is the boat of Peter on the rough seas. Despite the many obstacles and struggles, the lord’s help and protection will never be lacking. Christ’s Church will never be overcome. 

Lord: This address indicates deep trust and respect. It may also signify recognition of Christ’s divinity. (CCC 447-500)

Ch 14:23 By his example, Christ taught his followers the value of personal prayer. (CCC 2740)

Ch 14:33 Son of God: This is the first instance in Matthew that Christ was addressed as the Son of God by his Apostles. (CCC 454)

Ch 14:36 The fringe of his garment: While Christ normally worked miracles through his personal touch, many were healed by merely touching his garments. These verses implicitly show the value of holy relics and of their veneration. (CCC 1674)

Ch 15:1-20 Christ again emphasized that what is in the heart of the human person counts for more than mere lip service to the Torah. The New Law does not abrogate the Old but perfects and fulfills it. Our external fulfillment of the Law must be motivated and accompanied by a good disposition of the heart, the source of all human action. (CCC 1853, 1968, 2517)

Ch 15:3-7 Tradition: Christ was not teaching that we should disregard Traditions of divine origin (i.e., Sacred Tradition derived from Christ or his Apostles; cf. 2 Thes 2:15). In fact, the first generation of Christians did not have a written New Testament and were specifically instructed by the Apostles to hold fast to the traditions they had been given. Rather, Christ was dismissing those traditions invented by men (“your traditions”) that were contrary to the spirit of the Commandments of God. (CCC 579)

Ch 15:21-28 Son of David: Some Gentiles, such as the Canaanite woman, also looked forward to the Messiah promised to the Jews. The woman’s persistence serves as an example of how we must pray even if our prayers do not seem to be answered immediately or even if followed by more suffering. As with the Roman centurion (cf. Mt 8:10), Christ admired and acted upon the great faith of the Canaanite woman. (CCC 439, 448, 2610)

Ch 15:32-39 Like his earlier miraculous feeding of the crowd (cf. Mt 14:13-21), this miracle used Eucharistic language, prefiguring the Sacrament he would institute at the Last Supper. (CCC 1329, 1335)

Ch 16:1-4 The Pharisees and Sadducees asked for a sign, as if his many miracles performed already were not enough. Christ refused them because they had not bothered to consider the signs already given. The only sign he would give, i.e., the sign of Jonah, would be his Resurrection after three days in the tomb. See commentary on Matthew 12:39-40. A recurring exhortation is that we must do good and keep the law without seeking praise or admiration from others. (CCC 1968-1969)

Ch 16:16-17 Simon Peter was the first of the Apostles in Matthew to acknowledge verbally that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God-an indispensable truth of the faith revealed to him by the Father through the Holy Spirit. (CCC 50, 153, 298, 424, 440-442)

Ch 16:18 Christ changed Simon’s name to Peter, “rock,” and established him as the rock upon which his Church would be built. Peter was thus preeminent among the Twelve Apostles and was given a unique mission. He would guard the authentic teachings of Christ, serve as a focal point of unity, and be a shepherd for the Apostles and the entire Church. This special call of Peter is the origin of the Petrine ministry, the papal office, which continues in the Bishop of Rome in an unbroken line to our own day. A bishop's authority in his diocese is represented by his chair (in Latin, cathedra). (CCC 552-553, 816, 834, 881 935-937)

Ch 16:19 Keys to the kingdom of heaven: These “keys” represent the authority given to Peter to govern the Church and include the power to absolve sins and to make doctrinal as well as disciplinary pronouncements. Peter and his successors, the Bishops of Rome, are thus the sign of unity for the entire Church. The Church has always understood this authority to be handed down to the successors of Peter, the Popes, and this guarantee of truth is reinforced in the dogma of papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals solemnly defined in the First Ecumenical Council of the Vatican in 1870. (CCC 85-86, 567, 869, 1444)

Ch 16:21-23 After Peter’s acknowledgement that Jesus is the Messiah, Christ revealed that his mission of redemption included terrible suffering, death, and resurrection. This is the first of three so-called Passion predictions (the other two: cf. Mt 17:22-23; 20:17-19). When Peter resisted this revelation, Christ leveled his severest rebuke, associating Peter with Satan, who also tempted him (cf. Mt 4:1). Christ’s message is that there can be no redemption without the Cross. (CCC 440, 540, 554, 607)

Ch 16:24-26 Deny himself and take up his cross and follow me: To become a true disciple of Christ requires a commitment to loving sacrifice in the form of self-denial and a willingness to accept suffering out of love for Christ. A prayer of St. Nicholas of Flue states: “My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you; my Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you; my Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.” (CCC 618, 2029, 2232)

Ch 16:27-28 Who will not taste death...kingdom: Christ did not mean that some Apostles would still be alive at the time of his Second Coming. This statement may have been fulfilled in the Transfiguration, which occurs in the very next passage (cf. 17:1-9); it may also refer to his Resurrection and Ascension; finally, it may foretell the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, which was to be a sign of the judgment that accompanied the arrival of the Kingdom of God. (CCC 1038)

Ch 17:1-8 The Transfiguration reflects Christ’s divinity in an extraordinary way. Just as at his Baptism, the voice of his Father was heard calling Christ his “beloved Son.” Moses and Elijah both encountered God on a holy mountain, Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb respectively, and represent the Law and the prophets; Christ at the center of the three indicates that he is the center of all Revelation. (CCC 444, 454)

Ch 17:10-13 John the Baptist was the herald of the coming of Christ. In this sense, John was Elijah, the Old Testament prophet who was assumed bodily into Heaven (cf. 2 Kgs 2:11) and had long been rumored to return in order to announce the imminent arrival of the Redeemer. (CC 718)

Ch 17:14-20 The disciples’ faith was too weak to cure the epileptic boy. Lack of faith can limit the effectiveness of our prayers. (CCC 2752-2756)

Ch 17:20 Other ancient authorities add, “But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting,” as verse 21.

Ch 17:23 Christ again told the Apostles of his coming Passion, Death, and Resurrection; their “distress” was an indication that they still did not understand that it was essential to his mission of salvation. (CCC 554)

Ch 17:24-27 Christ taught his disciples that God’s children have the liberty of access to him; knowing that the uninstructed would view the refusal to pay the Temple tax as impiety, he permitted the tax to be paid. (CCC 586)

Proverbs 19:9 All dishonesty and deception is forbidden by the Eighth Commandment, but a lie takes on a particular gravity when spoken under oath in a court of law. False witness and perjury not only are an insult to God but also could lead to serious harm imparted on an innocent person or a failure in the just punishment of a guilty party. (CCC 2476)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 59: Keys to Peter (Matthew 16:13-20)

Jesus gives Peter the "keys of the kingdom" and the authority to "bind and loose," meaning the authority to teach, govern, and forgive sins (see CCC 553; Is 22).  Jesus continues to shepherd his people through the successors of Peter and of the apostles--the pope and the bishops united to him.

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you thanks. We praise you and glorify your name. Lord God, we ask that this day that you receive our thanks, that you receive our praise, that you receive our thanksgiving because every good gift comes from you. Every good thing we have in our life comes from you and we thank you. Please, please Lord God, receive our praise. Receive our thanksgiving in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”