Not far from Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee is the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fish or commonly called the Church of the Multiplication. It was first built in 350AD and the current one was built in 1982. It sits upon the ruins of two older churches. The Church of the Multiplication is under the care and ownership of the Benedictine sisters.
The location of the Church of the Multiplication is believed to be where Jesus fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish prior to the miracle He performed where He was walking on the waters of the Sea of Galilee.
Theologians ask the question, is this the exact place where the miracle of the multiplication happened? Perhaps not because the bible did not specifically mention the place where Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish happened. However, this place is suggestive because it’s near the Sea of Galilee and could fit in 5,000 people at once. No other place in the area could accommodate as much as 5,000 people.
Enshrined in the church is a rock believed to be where Jesus laid the 5 loaves of bread and the 2 fish. The bed of rock is called the “Mensa Cristi.” However, historical evidences say otherwise. The church is also home of some mosaic arts depicting the miracle of the multiplication. In 2015, the Church of the Multiplication has been put on fire by a Jew protester. The fire however did no reach the main altar.
What the Bible Says
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
MY REFLECTION AT THE CHURCH OF THE MULTIPLICATION
I was basically more concerned of the arson committed here in 2015. I reflected on Jesus’ miracle of multiplication as a unifying force to all people on earth regardless of belief. Let us multiply love, let us multiply hope, let us multiply peace. Let us not multiply hatred and fear. The multiplication of loaves and fish should remind us to multiply only what is good and beneficial to humankind.
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