January 29, 2015

Sons of the Prophets and Miraculous Feeding

The prophet Elisha was brought food to feed the sons of the prophets. The food is miraculously multiplied and there was some left over.

A man came from Ba'al-shal'ishah, bringing the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Eli'sha said, "Give to the men, that they may eat." But his servant said, "How am I to set this before a hundred men?" So he repeated, "Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the LORD, `They shall eat and have some left.'" So he set it before them. And they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the LORD.(2 Kings 4:42-44)

The phrase "Sons of the prophets" is significant. This was a guild or grouping of prophets over which Elisha presided. He erected a common dwelling for the prophets, presided over meals and dispatched the prophets to perform errands. Here Elisha feeds them with miraculous food.

Several centuries later, Jesus asks for food to feed the Israelites. Again the food is miraculously multiplied and there is much left over.

When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.  (Matthew 14:15-20)

One chapter later Jesus does the same thing for the Gentiles, feeding them food and having much left over. What does this all mean to us?

Matthew is portraying Jesus as the greatest prophet and fulfillment of all prophecy. His miraculous feeding of the Jews makes them "Sons of the prophets." Even more surprising to the ancient Jewish reader was the miraculous feeding of the Gentiles who were now able to lay claim to the same title. We share the title "Sons of the prophets" today. 

Jesus is the new prophet who has erected the Church as a dwelling for himself and for us, presides over our Eucharistic meals and sends us on our missions to bring his message to all the Earth.


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