In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Near the end of St. Matthew’s 14th chapter, Jesus had just fed the 5000 men, besides women and children. (cf. Matthew 14:21) Miraculously, a mere five loaves of bread and two fish become a banquet for a great multitude. On top of that, when the crowd finished eating, there were leftovers; twelve baskets full of fragments.
After today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus does it again, feeding 4000 men, besides women and children. (cf. Matthew 15:38) This time, seven loaves and a few small fish were the meal. And the crowd had their fill. When they were done, once again there were leftovers; seven large baskets full of fragments.
Now, we can put all kinds of stock in the numbers used, and it is a salutary exercise to decipher the numbers. The Pentateuch, wholeness, the Trinity, the two testaments, the tribes, sun and moon, the fullness of time in a week—all of these things can be found in the numbers of loaves, fish, baskets, and men being fed.