Daily Reflection – 8/5/19
When Jesus heard of it, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.( Matthew 14:13-21)
Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospel accounts What is the significance of this miracle? The miraculous feeding of such a great multitude recalled the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness under Moses’ leadership and intercession for his people.
God multiplies the little we have so we can bring his blessing to others
The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. When God gives, he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves that we may have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need. God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others.
God takes care of his people. We can also read the feeding in a second way. On the one hand, we can simply take it as a miraculous event, pointing to the divine origins of Jesus. On the other hand, there is another possibility with its own meaning. Once the disciples began to share the little food they had with those around, it triggered a similar movement among the crowd, many of whom had actually brought some food with them. When everyone shared, everyone had enough. A picture of the kind of society the Church should stand for.
Some people might say that this is explaining away the miracle but it also makes an important point. The second lesson is that it was the disciples and not Jesus who distributed the bread and fish. And so it must be in our own time. If the followers of Jesus do not share with others what they have received from him, the work of Jesus and the spreading of the Gospel will not happen. Our call is to reflect him in our lives and by doing so bring others to know His love.
Prayer of The Day
Jesus, I have benefited from your self-forgetting love and your generosity. Even when I was too self-absorbed to look for help, you have come to my aid. Thank you, Lord. Now teach me to do the same with those around me. Teach me to forget myself, to put all my talents and treasure and time at the service of your Kingdom, out of love for you and for my neighbor.
Mother Teresa tried to impress upon her sisters the importance of following Jesus’ lead in tending to physical hungers and then the spiritual needs of the poor. She told them, “Charity begins today. Today, somebody is suffering. Today, somebody is in the street. Today, somebody is hungry. Our work is for today. Yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today to make Jesus known, loved, served, fed, clothed, sheltered. Do not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will not have them if we do not feed them today”
Mother Teresa lived and served with a generosity and an urgency that continue to challenge us long after her death. Her example, along with that of so many others similarly devoted to ending hunger, calls forth the best in us. If people die of starvation, she said, it’s not because God didn’t care for them. It is because you and I were not instruments of love in the hands of God to give them bread, because we did not recognize him when, once more, the hungry Christ came in distressing disguise. What can we do today?