Lagura: Little can be plenty in the Lord’s hands-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, July 28, 2012
FOR nearly a month London and the International Olympic Committee officials will have the herculean task of feeding more than 12,000 athletes, not counting their coaches, trainers and hangers-on. Feeding these athletes will pose a great challenge. Luckily, the organizers can count on beef from Australia, mutton from New Zealand, wheat and corn from Canada and coffee from Brazil. These supplies have already been stockpiled and ready to be used.
Such was not the case with Jesus. Finding themselves in a deserted place originally intended for their retreat and rest, Jesus and his disciples faced the enormous challenge of feeding the vast crowd of 5,000 men, not counting the women and children. Some disciples wanted the easy way out: send the crowd away.
But realizing that it was their responsibility to do something about the hungry multitude Jesus challenged his disciples by asking Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” With this question the Lord tested his followers’ faith, that is, do they rely on economic solutions to the problems or do they have faith in him? The disciples still thought in clearly materialistic/practical terms when Philip--speaking for the rest--said not even with money from the salary of 200 days would suffice; it would buy too little for so many.
With his next question Jesus probed his disciples’ faith further. “But you, how much do you have?” In other words, the Lord asked for them to be resourceful and generous in sharing whatever they have, little though it be. And true enough, there was something offered. The rest of the multitudes must have consumed their journey’s provisions, if they had any, or hid them. Yet, in all simplicity and amazing generosity a young boy offered all that he had in his bag: five loaves of barley bread (n.b. poor quality bread) and two fish. So meager and so simple for so vast a crowd.
Yet, in the hands of the Lord the little that was heartily offered proved more than enough. After Jesus blessed the bread and the fish, he instructed his disciples to tell the crowd to recline on the grassy ground and have the food distributed. The thousands who were in that deserted place had their fill. Moreover, when the disciples went around to gather whatever extra food each came back with a basketful of leftovers.
What the young lad had offered generously to the Lord was blessed and multiplied many times over. In His generosity which cannot be surpassed, God will give back not only to the donor but to many other people as well the gifts which are heart-fully offered to Him. Shortly after this miraculous multiplication of bread the people who had been fed followed Jesus. However, when the Lord invited them to go to a higher level of life when he spoke of his flesh as the bread of life given for the life of the world, many abandoned him unable to accept his words.(John 6:67)
While the Olympic Games will take place in London the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated in many places all over the world. At the heart of those Eucharistic celebrations is the partaking of the bread, the Bread of Life, which, though small and few compared to the food athletes and their retainers will be consuming, this Eucharistic bread will give the world the life, real life it needs.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 29, 2012.