Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s Gospel reading occurs substantially in all four gospels. This testifies to its importance. All the more reason for us to discover that “importance” for us personally. Let’s consider one facet of this gospel treasure which speaks forcefully of God’s lavish generosity toward us. This is the miraculous feeding of such a huge crowd—over five thousand! Other gospel examples of Jesus’ abundance include the 900 bottles of wine produced at the wedding feast at Cana and the 103 fish caught on the lake of Galilee. Not to mention the total forgiveness given to the thief on the cross and the gracious rehabilitation of Peter, fitting him for ministry.
Now let’s get personal. How have you experienced this same lavish generosity of God in your own life? You might actually be overwhelmed by God’s great goodness. Notice also how in today’s gospel Jesus calls the disciples to be instruments of this generosity. The question: how does God call you to be an instrument of his generosity towards others?
It is with good reason that St. Ignatius composed the prayer that says “Lord, teach me to be generous, to give and not to count the cost.” Easy to say; more challenging to live.
—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.
Extend your arms in welcome to the future. The best is yet to come.
—Anthony de Mello, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!