Give What You Have

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

August 2, 2020 – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 14:13-21

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Reading today’s gospel might bring on a smile or two. It describes a large number of people, five-thousand men, plus women and children, all gathering in one place to hear Jesus. My initial question was that this could not happen today. Too much closeness, too dangerous given our need to deal with Covid-19.

Yet there is also a dimension of the narrative that is timeless, and totally appropriate for today, or any day. Focus on the initial reaction of the disciples of Jesus upon realizing that the gathered crowd must be hungry. In their practical view of things, this crowd should be told to disperse and find food for themselves in neighboring towns. Perhaps they should return to their homes. It was dinner time.

How surprised they must have been when Jesus said the crowd should stay and simply be given what the disciples had available. So, a quick inventory was taken. Five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus said to give to the crowd what they had. It would be enough. And it was.

Here’s what I think Jesus wants us to know. Whatever the situation you find yourself in, whatever you judge its needs, share what you have at that moment and it will be enough.

To some this will sound impractical. Or unrealistic. I suspect the disciples of Jesus, after hearing his instructions about feeding the crowd, thought he was totally off his rocker. He was losing touch with reality. They likely told him that they needed more than five of this and two of that. Much more.

How often do we think along similar lines as parents or grandparents, as spouses, as friends, as neighbors? We see the needs of others, but we judge that we don’t have sufficient resources to really help. To solve the problems of the moment. To make it all better.

But Jesus, I believe, would say to us that we do. Give what you have. It will be enough. That’s all God expects.

©David M. Thomas, PhD


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