The church of Multiplications of Loves and Fishes is one of most important sites to be visited in the Holy Land by christians in their pilgrimations in Israel and celebrate the Multiplications of Loves and Fishes described Matthew 14:16–20.
But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me.And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
(Matthew 14:16–20 KJV)
According with biblical scholars, it Multiplications of Loves and Fishes was a fulfilment of the ancient messianic prophecy described in 2 Kings 4:43–44.
And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.
(2 Kings 4:43–44 KJV)
The multiplication of the loaves in accordance with the word of the Lord through his prophet anticipates the messianic ministry of the Living Word himself (cf. Matt 14:16-20; 15:36-37, John 6:11-13). C.S. Lewis (Miracles [New York: MacMillan, 1953], pp. 16f.) calls such cases “miracles of the old creation” involving “miracles of fertility,” i.e., those in which man sees in extraordinary fashion that which God alone has produced customarily in nature. While far beyond man’s ability, they are routine for the Lord of the impossible.
JEROME: Christ first took away the infirmities of the sick, and afterwards supplied food to them that had been healed. Also He calls His disciples to tell them what He is about to do; “Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude.” This He does that He may give an example to masters of sharing their counsels with the young, and their disciples; or, that by this dialogue they might come to understand the greatness of the miracle.
CHRYS., HOM., III: For the multitude when they came to be healed, had not dared to ask for food, but He that loveth man, and hath care of all creatures, gives it to them unasked; whence He says, “I have compassion upon the multitude.”
That it should not be said that they had brought provision with them on their way, He says, “Because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.” For though when they came they had food, it was now consumed, and for this reason He did it not on the first or second day, but on the third, when all was consumed that they might have brought with them; and thus they having been first placed in need, might take the food that was now provided with keener appetite.
That they had come from far, and that nothing was now left them, is shewn in what He says, “And I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint by the way.”
Yet He does not immediately proceed to work the miracle, that He may rouse the disciples’ attention by this questioning, and that they may shew their faith by saying to Him, Create loaves. And though at the time of the former miracle Christ had done many things to the end that they should remember it, making them distribute the loaves, and divide the baskets among them, yet they were still imperfectly disposed, as appears from what follows; “And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness as to fill so great a multitude?”
This they spoke out of the [Vol. I, p. 570] infirmity of their thoughts, yet thereby making the ensuing miracle to be beyond suspicion; for that none might suspect that the loaves had been got from a neighbouring village, this miracle is wrought in the wilderness far distant from villages.
Then to arouse His disciples’ thoughts, He puts a question to them, which may call the foregone miracle to their minds; “And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? They said unto him, Seven, and a few little fishes.”
But they do not add, ‘But what are they among so many?’ as they had said before; for they had advanced somewhat, though they did not yet comprehend the whole. Admire in the Apostles their love of truth, though themselves are the writers, they do not conceal their own great faults; and it is no light self-accusation to have so soon forgotten so great a miracle.
Observe also their wisdom in another respect, how they had overcome their appetite, taking so little care of their meals, that though they had been three days in the desert, yet they had with them only seven loaves. Some other things also He does like to what had been done before. He makes them to sit down on the ground, and the bread to grow in the hands of the disciples; as it follows, “And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.”
Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea (Golden Chain), 569-570.