As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.”
But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.
And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
‘You give them something to eat.’ In today’s Gospel, Jesus does not mince words. In the face of a hungry crowd Jesus impells his followers to respond to their need. I, like his apostles, am challenged by the directness of these instructions. ¨Shouldn’t we send them on their way?¨
Jesus is clear, we are called to respond to the suffering around us and right in front of us. As today’s Gospel shows us, God will bless and multiply the seemingly little we have to offer. Let us confidently respond to the needs of those around us trusting that God will take, bless and multiply what seems like only a little bread and meager fish.
—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ, is a social worker at Nativity Jesuit Academy in Milwaukee, WI.
God the source of life,
Slow down my busyness today and
Help me notice the hunger of my brothers and sisters around me.
Move me to respond to their need.
God you know I don’t have much to offer:
a smile, a couple dollars, an extra cup of coffee.
I trust that you don’t expect me to do everything,
but remind me I must do something.
Because it is You that I feed when I feed them.
—Br. Matt Wooters, SJ
Please share the Good Word with your friends!