I’m sitting down writing this letter today thinking to myself I need to get a better fan! I do hope you are keeping well and cool.
In the Gospel today and over the next few weeks the readings come from Chapter Six of St John’s Gospel. We read about the miracle of the five barley loaves and two fish feeding the five thousand who were there. Philip and Andrew, who were with Jesus must have felt like we do at times, facing a situation beyond our ability to manage. The sense of dismay is clearly heard in the disciples’ comments. Philip grumbles that, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each,’ and Andrew who sees the small boy with five barley loaves and two fish, asks, ‘What is that between so many?’. Seeing the hungry crowd and the small number of loaves, Jesus was aware of the enormity of the task of feeding them all.
He did not share the apostles’ sense of defeatism. He saw that in some way the small boy with the five barley loaves and two fish was key to feeding five thousand people. We cannot imagine what exactly happened on that day out in the wilderness but the small boy with his loaves and fish played a key role. It was just enough food for a simple meal for a poor family which the boy was willing to give over to Jesus. When he handed them across, in some mysterious way, Jesus was able to work with the young boy’s generous gift to feed everyone. One generous boy was the key to feeding the multitude. One person’s generosity gave Jesus the opening that he needed. Through small and willing gifts, powerful things can happen.
As Paul puts it, in his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians: “God’s power is often made perfect in our weakness.” The Lord can work powerfully in and through the very little that we possess, if we are generous with that little. Today’s gospel teaches us never to underestimate the significance of even the tiniest efforts we make to be generous with the resources we have at our disposal.
Take care of yourselves in the week ahead.