January 6, 2015

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.
Thousands of people sitting on the meadow grass in groups of fifty or one hundred. The disciples, concerned with how so many could be fed, go to Jesus.
The Lord replies: “Give them some food yourselves.”
Incredulous, they react by asking Jesus if they’re expected to spend two hundred days wages to buy food.
Jesus responds by multiplying a few loaves of bread and two fish into more than enough to feed thousands, with plenty left over.
Twenty-five years ago, I would have had pretty much the same reaction as the disciples.
Today, my reaction is one of calm and peace of heart and mind. For two and a half decades, I have experienced Jesus providing the necessary resources for My Brother’s Keeper to serve over one hundred thousand people. And, as in today’s gospel story, there is always an abundance left over.
I used to wonder why, no matter how hard we worked, we could never seem to give it all away.
Finally, one day the answer came to me.
The reason we always have a surplus is because we’re in charge of delivery. Christ is in charge of supply, and He is better at His job than we are at ours.