And his disciples said unto him, From where should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?
Read Chapter 15
Hilary of Poitiers
This was in response to everything that had happened before. So we must probe the corresponding reason for this entire situation and especially of the relation of Jews and Gentiles. We will then see that the promises that had earlier applied to the Jewish people were to be received by the Gentile people. There is an order, then, in the Lord’s words that holds true in the receiving of grace. Those who approach baptism declare first that they believe in the Son of God and in his Passion and resurrection; a commitment is then made to this sign of profession. In this way a certain truth about the things themselves may result from this verbal promise. Those who devote the entire time in fasting to commemorate the Lord’s Passion are joined to the Lord in a sort of fellowship of compassion. Therefore both by the sign of their promise and by their fasting, they spend all the time involved in the Lord’s Passion with the Lord. Do you see the mystery? The Lord has compassion on this hopeful follo...
What then say the disciples? Still they creep on the ground, although He had done so very many things in order that that miracle might be kept in memory; as by His question, and by the answer, and by making them minister herein, and by distributing the baskets; but their state of mind was yet rather imperfect.
Wherefore also they say to Him, Whence should we have so many loaves in the wilderness?
Both before this, and now, they make mention of the wilderness; themselves in a weak way of argument so speaking, yet even hereby putting the miracle above suspicion. That is, lest any should affirm (as I have indeed already said), that they obtained it from some neighboring village, the place is acknowledged, that the miracle may be believed. With this view, both the former miracle and this He works in a wilderness, at a great distance from the villages.
The disciples, considering none of all this, said, Whence should we have so many loaves in a wilderness? For they thought verily He...
They should have understood that on the previous occasion even a greater number had been fed in the desert. But they are senseless here, so that later when you see them filled with such great wisdom, you may marvel at the grace of Christ.