Irony -Matthew juxtaposes two kings and two kingdoms in
this section. We have King Herod who presides over a raucous banquet ending in the
execution of John, and then we have "King" Jesus who provides a meal for his
subjects. Chronology aside, in Matthews arrangement, Jesus withdrawal is
designed to coincide directly with the announcement of Johns death. 
Pastoral Ministry - Jesus feeding of the five thousand is
another example of compassion. In this story of the loaves and fish, Jesus
compassion comes across as an act of human response to a group of people who have among
them sick ones in need of care. Eucharistic and eschatological overtones are
heard in the passage as we now at the Table and in the sacrament of the common life seek
to obey Jesus: "you give them something to eat."
Pastor-Centered To Ministry-Centered
Note how Jesus moves the disciples from followers to leaders . . . he doesnt
say, "I will feed them," but "you give them something to eat." Mark
adds, "they did not understand the saying, for their heart was hardened." For
they were continuing to crawl like babies. 
What do you do when you hear
How would you differentiate between solitude and isolation?
Step into the disciples shoes: how would you have felt if Jesus had asked you to
feed a small town?
Recall a moment / story / example of how God s - t - r - e - t - c - h - e - d
your resources beyond what you could have imagined.
You may want to begin with summer
homecomings and picnics as a well to enter the text
Raise the question and suggest plausible reasons why Jesus sought solitude-because of
John the Baptists execution? Needed to sort things out? To avoid the publicity that
might lead to his arrest and execution? Exhaustion?
Recall moments in your own life when you sought solitude
You may want to distinguish between silence / isolation / and solitude.
Jesus reclaims his Good News mission, but the disciples are not nearly as resourceful
How does this scene of Jesus commanding the disciples to feed the people reflect our
own congregations attempt to obey Jesus command?