11 When the people knew, they followed him; and he received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed them who had need of healing.
Theophylact: Our Lord went into a desert place because He was about to perform the miracle of the loaves of bread, that no one should say that the bread was brought from the neighboring cities.
Chrysostom: Or He went into a desert place that no one might follow Him.
12 Now the day began to decline. And the twelve came and said to him: Send away the multitude, that going into the towns and villages round about, they may lodge and get victuals; for we are here in a desert place. 13 But he said to them: Give you them to eat. . . .
Bede: When the day was going down, he refreshes the multitudes, that is, as the end of the world approaches, or when the Sun of righteousness sets for us.
Cyril: Mark the overflowing kindness of Him who is asked. He not only grants those things which the disciples seek, but to those who follow Him, He supplies the bounty of a munificent hand, commanding food to be set before them.
Theophylact: He said not this as ignorant of their answer, but wishing to induce them to tell Him how much bread they had, that so a great miracle might be manifested through their confession, when the quantity of bread was made known.
13 . . . And they said: We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless perhaps we should go and buy food for all this multitude.
Cyril: This was a command which the disciples were unable to comply with, since they had with them but five loaves and two fishes.
Bede: The Apostles had only got but the five loaves of the Mosaic law, and the two fishes of each covenant.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).