January 5, 2016

Gospel MK 6:34-44
When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.
“When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
On New Year’s Eve day, I had the great privilege of delivering food to families who called My Brother’s Keeper for help.
My “crew” consisted of Minh, a sixth grade boy from Easton, Sean, a college freshman, from
E. Bridgewater, and my grandson, Nathan, an eighth grader from Taunton.
Attempting to deliver to a second floor apartment, we stood on the busy sidewalk, trying to gain access to the large, multi-floored building.
Finally, a young boy appeared. When he opened the door we introduced ourselves. He told us his name was Ramone and he was nine years old.
We followed him down dreary hallways as he carefully unlocked access doors and led us into a small, humble, cramped apartment.
A large mattress was tied on edge against the wall to make room for walking; it would only be laid down at night.
Because of Christmas vacation, Ramone was home alone. Polite and capable at nine years old, Ramone showed us where to put the food and quietly thanked us as we left.
The meaning of the name Ramone is “Wise Protector.”
The drive from my comfortable house to Ramone’s pitiful apartment is less than 15 minutes. Yet, he lives in a completely different world than me.
If I did not have the opportunity to go on food deliveries, I would never be aware of Ramone and neither would my grandson and the others on my crew.
The “pity” that Jesus felt was not theoretical. His “heart” was moved with pity because he associated with the Ramones of His own time.
When the disciples asked Jesus how the hungry were going to find food, He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.”
“Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt desperate or alone? Where did help come from? When were you blessed by a stranger? Who are today’s neighbors in need? How might God be calling you to respond?” Pope Francis