Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Give Them Some Food Yourselves! Jesus Said.

Memorial of Saint John Neumann, bishop

Reading I 1 John 7:10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God,
but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.


Responsorial Psalm 72
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.


Gospel Mark 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish
and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing,
broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

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In his commentary on today’s Gospel, Dominican Father Donagh O’Shea recalls a friend of his, now deceased, who always said things like, “Why don’t you fix it yourself?” The effect was like that of turning off a tap: it stopped all complaints instantly. But that wasn’t why he used to say it. He was a hands-on person by instinct, so his words had great power to challenge – much more than if he were only being provocative. His kind of language was real and practical, “Do it, and we’ll talk about it later!” “Go, and see for yourself!” “Let’s do it ourselves!” He once asked another friend a direct question and she replied evasively, “I’ll have to think about that.” “I’ll wait!” he said, and he waited right there.

"Give them some food yourselves!” Jesus said. “Where are we supposed to buy a whole year’s wages to feed this crowd? We only have five loaves and a couple of fish”, he said, “Start with that, then.” And when they started to do it, they found that it worked. On another occasion, he said to a paralytic man who had been lying on his cot for thirty-eight years, “Get up!” and when he tried, he did it! There are probably miracles everywhere just ready to pop, if only we would do it instead of talking about it.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

This is such a good point. There is a significant difference between dependence on God and learned helplessness. In my life and the lives of my friends, I have seen God use us ourselves as the conduits for the miracles that ensue, and that is so awe-inspiring and motivational.