Isaiah 55:1-3; Romans 8:35.37-39; Matthew 14:13-21
During the week I made the mistake of buying one of those take-away salad rolls which I suspected had been sitting there behind the glass with its egg and lettuce and its ham and cheese companions for quite some time. I was right. It was horrible! But it now makes me wonder what the bread and fish handed out by the disciples would have been like? I can't imagine it would have been steaming like bread just out of the oven but neither would it have been stale like my salad roll.
The wine Jesus made at the wedding feast of Cana was apparently superlative: but you have saved the best till now (Jn 2:10), exclaimed the astonished headwaiter.
One can only suppose that the bread, and the fish that went with it, would likewise have been exceptionally good, and would have made the people loudly express their delight and satisfaction. Their sick had been healed, they had had the word of God preached to them, and they had been richly fed.
And what are we to make of the twelve baskets of scraps left over? The disciples had so matter-of-factly told Jesus: All we have is five loaves and two fish. It reminds me of what Mary said to the Lord at the wedding feast (Jn 2:3): They have no wine; and of what Peter replied when Jesus told him to put out for a catch (Lk 5:4): Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing.
And it reminds me, too, of the many times I have said to the Lord: I can't, I'm not enough, Lord. I'm only me! Just five loaves and two fish.
The Lord's answer is always: Bring them here to me. Mary puts it in another way: Do whatever he tells you. And Simon Peter says: If you say so...
The disciples find themselves with twelve baskets left over; the wedding couple find themselves with six twenty-five gallon stone jars of the best wine; and Peter: netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear.
So what is all this saying to you? In my own words it says:
- Wherever Jesus is, there is nothing to worry about.
- There is nothing I cannot do if Jesus is with me.
- Jesus and me make a majority.
- Close to Jesus I have everything.
In the words of Sacred Scripture it says to me:
- My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness (2 Cor 12:9)
- Trust wholeheartedly in God, put no faith in your own understanding (Prov 3:5).
- There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength (Phil 4:13).
- God is my strength, my shield, my heart puts its trust in him (Ps 28:7)
In a few moments we will again bring bread to the Lord, a few humble wafers. Let us pray now, and again later, in the words of the Prayer over the Offerings: Graciously sanctify these gifts, O Lord, we pray, and, accepting the oblation of this spiritual sacrifice, make of us an everlasting gift to you. Through Christ our Lord.