14 Now there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples: Make them sit down by fifties in a company. 15 And they did so; and made them all sit down.
Augustine: That Luke says here, that the men were ordered to sit down by fifties, but Mark, by fifties and hundreds [Mark 6:40], does not matter, seeing that one spoke of a part, the other of the whole.
16 And taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed them; and he broke, and distributed to his disciples, to set before the multitude.
Chrysostom: To make men believe that He came from the Father, Christ when He was about to work the miracle looked up to heaven.
Cyril: This also He did purposely for our sakes, that we may learn that at the commencement of a feast when we are going to break bread, we ought to offer thanks for it to God, and to draw forth the heavenly blessing upon it.
Chrysostom: He Himself is both the Giver of food, and, the same who said, Let the earth bring forth, etc. [Gen 1:11] He makes also the fishes to increase [Gen 1:22], to signify that He has dominion over the seas, as well as the dry land.
Bede: Our Savior does not create new food for the hungry multitudes, but He took those things which the disciples had and blessed them, since coming in the flesh He preaches nothing else than what had been foretold, but demonstrates the words of prophecy to be pregnant with the mysteries of grace; He looks towards heaven, that thither He may teach us to direct the eye of the mind, there to seek the light of knowledge; He breaks and distributes to the disciples to be placed before the multitude, because He revealed to them the Sacraments of the Law and the Prophets that they might preach them to the world.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).