“…dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” (Mt. 14:13-21) It is a reasonable request, even considerate but God’s Kingdom is about more than our sense of propriety. Christ wants to bring his disciples into a fuller way of viewing situations and living in our world. “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
Christ knows that there is no one so poor that they cannot give something. It is not so much the quantity of giving that matters as it is the quality of giving. “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” “Bring them here to me,” responds our Lord.
We look at the violence and pain in our world, maybe even in our own lives, we look at the isolation, the fear and the hatred, we consider our own weaknesses, maybe our own sense of unworthiness and it is easy to say, “But, all we have…”
There is no one so poor that they cannot give something.
“All I have are some old clothes and some used furniture.” Well, for a week now I have watched cars and trucks deliver such items to our parish life center to the point where the space now looks like a department store. I am told that for five hours next Saturday in a chaotic frenzy of shopping thousands will be raised to support ministries within our parish and local community, especially those that will aid the poor. “All I have is some free time,” but in that little time communion and companionship can be brought to a sick or elderly brother or sister. “All I have is a desire to live the faith and share the faith.” Our young people need mentors and teachers; people willing to demonstrate what it looks like to be a Christian in our world today. We see the violence and injustice in our world, we might even experience it or witness it firsthand; all we might have is the ability to not cooperate in this, walk away, and maybe even speak a word of truth and love. We see a brother or sister in pain, all we might have is the ability to listen.
“But all we have…” “Bring them here to me,” says our Lord. There is no one so poor that they cannot give something.
For full disclosure I must admit that even though I shared about next Saturday’s parish rummage sale and all the good it does, I am going to be out of town when the chaos occurs. It is not intentional, although I must admit I am not necessarily heart-broken. Next weekend I will be in South Bend, Indiana to witness a wedding. The groom is a friend of mine from the Boston Community of Sant’Egidio. He is at Notre Dame finishing up his doctoral studies in Scripture. The bride works at a Christian Community Development Corporation. The reason I share about them is that in our last discussion they said that, even though they do not have much, they want their wedding and their marriage to be an expression of God’s love in our world. “All we have is our love and our faith,” they are saying. “Bring them here to me,” our Lord responds. Christ will bless what they have to offer and my hunch is that our Lord will bring life to many through the love of Brian and Beth.
Our Lord invites us to look in a different way at the very real problems and pains of our world and our lives. It is very easy to look at the immensity of it all and throw up our hands and say, “But all we have…” Our Lord says, “But you do have something, bring it here to me.”
There is no one so poor that they cannot give something. And in giving, life is found.