Transcribed by Joel V. Ocampo
The Gospel of this Sunday’s Liturgy recounts the famous episode of The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, with which Jesus feeds about five thousand people who came to hear Him. It’s interesting to see how this miracle takes place. Jesus doesn’t create the loaves and fishes from nothing; but rather He works from what the disciples bring Him. One of them says, “There is a boy here who have five barley loaves and two fishes, but what are they among so many people?” (Jn. 6:9). It is little, it is nothing, but it is enough for Jesus.
Now let us try to put ourselves in the place of that boy. The disciples asked him to share everything he has to eat. It seems to be an unreasonable proposal. Instead, it’s correct. Why deprived that person? Indeed, a child. He has brought from home and has the right to keep for himself. Why take away from one person what is not enough to feed everyone anyway? And human turns it seems illogical, but not for God. On the contrary, thanks to that small, freely given, and therefore heroic giving, Jesus is able to feed everyone. This is a great lesson for us. It tells us that the Lord can do a lot with the little that we put at His disposal.
It would be good to ask ourselves every day, “What do I bring to Jesus today?” He can do a lot with one of our prayers, with a gesture of charity for others. Even with our sufferings. Hand it over to His mercy. With our small gesture, He does miracles. This is how God loves to act: He does great things starting from small freely given ones.
All the great people of the Bible, from Abraham to Mary, to the boy today, shows us the logic of smallness in giving. This logic of smallness in giving is very different from ours. We try to accumulate and increase what we have, but Jesus asks us to give–to give instead, to diminish. We like to add, we like addition, but Jesus likes subtraction: taking somethings away to give to others. We like to multiple for ourselves, Jesus appreciates it when we share with others–when we share.
It’s interesting that in the accounts of the multiplication of the loaves in the Gospels, the verb “multiply” never appears. On the contrary, the verbs use have the opposite meaning: to break, to give, to distribute; but the verb “multiply” is not used.
The true miracle Jesus says is not the multiplication that produces vanity and power, but the sharing that increases love, and allows God to perform wonders. Let us try to share more. Let us try this way that Jesus teaches us.
Today too, the multiplication of goods cannot solve problems without fair sharing. The tragedy of hunger comes to mind which affects the little ones in particular. It’s been calculated officially that every day in the world around seven thousand children under the age of five die due to malnutrition, because they don’t have what they need to survive.
Faced with scandals such as these, Jesus also addresses an invitation to us. The invitation similar to one probably received by the boy in the Gospel, who has no name and in whom we can see ourselves. Be brave. Give what little you have. Your talents and your possessions, make them available to Jesus and to your brothers and sisters. Do not be afraid, nothing will be lost, because if you share, God will multiply. Banish the false modesty of feeling inadequate, trust yourself. Believe in love, in the power of service, in the strength of gratuitousness.
May the Virgin Mary who answer “yes” to God’s unprecedent proposal help us to open our hears to the Lords invitation, and to the needs of others.