After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”
Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
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.
Jesus tells the disciples, “I have compassion for the crowd.” Do the disciples allow themselves to feel this compassion? Or, when they ask where they will get enough bread, are they too overwhelmed by the impossibility of the of the task of feeding them all? Reading this account, I see myself as one of the disciples and remember many times I’ve looked at hunger or other problems in the world and in my own community and thought, “It’s too much. How can I even begin to address it??
Jesus gently guides the disciples away from their complacency by asking, “What do you have?” Let us begin by allowing ourselves to be moved with compassion, offering the little we have to begin, and praying with faith that Jesus will make it enough.
—Beth Franzosa teaches in the Religious Studies department at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
—The Lord’s Prayer