Here we are at the 17th Sunday of ordinary time and our Gospel story tells us about the feeding of the 5,000. When we were growing up i’m sure it felt like the five thousand for my mother as we were a large family with 9 kids and mum and dad. With my mum like so many others trying to make the food on the table go that wee bit further. I think that the apostles in the gospel were like that wondering how the five loaves and fishes would feed all those people and really knowing deep down that in this case it wouldn’t. A great multitude had gathered to hear Jesus, no doubt because they were hungry for the word of life. Jesus’ disciples wanted to send them away at the end of the day because they did not have the resources to feed them. They even complained how much money it would take to feed such a crowd ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’
Jesus, the Bread of Life, took the little they had – five loaves and two fish – and giving thanks to his heavenly Father, distributed to all until they were satisfied of their hunger. The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. When God gives, he gives abundantly and without question. about how or what or where or when. He simply gives more than we need for ourselves so 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. We see this in so many ways especially through the likes of Trocaire and the Order of Malta and the many other Church agencies that bring the love of God into the world at large. The implication of this gospel for each of us is a simple one: Jesus wants to work the miracle of feeding a huge number of people who are hungry; but the miracle will not happen without someone to provide five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus must have loved the boy who was willing to share what was really his to eat.
The miracle of the gospel is as much about the boy as it is about Jesus as well as being about you and me. The boy in this gospel is each of us you and I one and all who have something to offer the Lord. Jesus did not spiritualize the hunger of the poor, or postpone his love for them to the next world. Today the Lord asks all sorts of people to make their contribution to the well being of those who have little or nothing at all. We shouldn’t be afraid of what we are asked to do in the Lord’s name. What we are asked to do is to give food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless and give some of our resources to the poor. May we not be afraid to show gods love remembering that He gives more than we need for ourselves so that we have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need to live their lives without Hunger with a roof over their heads and perhaps a few shillings in their pockets.