August 2, 2020; Mathew 14: 13-21; 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
There is not enough food at the beginning of today’s gospel. Jesus and disciples find themselves in a deserted place with a crowd of over five thousand people, and all they have is five loaves and two fish. But the disciples know what to do. They come to Jesus with the problem. He feeds the multitude, and all are satisfied. When they collect the leftover fragments, they fill twelve baskets. So, the peculiar thing about today’s gospel is that there is more food at the end there was at the beginning. That makes today’s gospel an example of faith. Faith tells us that when we are in need and come to the Lord, we can find ourselves having more at the end than we had at the beginning. This applies to all areas of our life.
We might be struggling with a serious loss, disorientation, or depression. Our life might lack focus or direction. Faith tells us that we should bring this to the Lord and say, “I have no energy, no hope.” Then we should trust that Jesus will act. Faith does not promise us that our depression will immediately evaporate. But it challenges us to believe that if we allow the Lord to guide us, we will not only work our way through the loss, but we can end up a better person than we were before. We might be dealing with a serious hurt from a family member or a friend. We carry the anger from that hurt with us daily, and our heart shutters every time we think of it. This gospel tells us that we should bring the hurt to Jesus and tell him, “This hurt is killing me, I can’t move forward. I don’t have the strength to forgive.” Now the gospel does not promise us that our hurt will immediately disappear, but it does challenge us to believe that healing is possible. If we place ourselves in the Lord’s hands, we will not only come to a point where we can be free of hurt, but we can also end up being a wiser person for having worked through it. Our whole world continues to be paralyzed by the Coronavirus. We’re tired of it. We want it to be over. Today’s gospel tells us to bring that concern to Jesus and say, “I don’t have the patience or the strength to do this much longer. I’m so tired of worrying about my family and friends. I don’t k now what to do.” The gospel does not guarantee us that we will have a vaccine tomorrow or that we and the people we love will never become infected. But it does invite us to place ourselves in Jesus’ care, believing that we can not only survive this pandemic but also learn things about ourselves and our lives that will continue to enrich us even when the virus has been defeated.
It is easy to panic when there is not enough food, when there is so much hunger and only five loafs and two fish. But today’s gospel tells us that coming to Jesus can make a difference. If we ask him and trust him, we will not only find enough food for today, but we will also have twelve baskets full out of which we can build a better and richer tomorrow.