Sharing our loaves and fishes

My continued stay (one year as of August 1) in this parish is part of my own journey of being open to God’s will. It is a sense of openness that makes us follow what our superiors require in the spirit of obedience.  It is an openness that supersedes personal or particular interests, no matter how important they may seem.    This is about sharing our own loaves and fish in the spirit of the Gospel.  This is what Christian life is all about: being open to God’s power and presence in our lives.

We as a parish community now face considerable difficulty and challenge. We can lose our fiscal balance. With an aging building, more and more maintenance will be required. In the area of human resource,  more volunteers will be relied upon in sacramental preparation and in other current and emerging ministries as an effort to offset administrative expenditure. Online communications will be required if in-person meetings are not, some times.  We have to continue to look for ways and means to be responsive to our mandate of evangelization.

By all estimates, this is tantamount to a miracle that requires us to willingly share our own respective loaves and fish if we are to remain relevant as God’s people in this part of the world. Whenever things seem difficult and even impossible, when we feel inadequate with the challenge, when we have little concern or compassion to reach out, it is good to remember this miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish.   In reply to the request of Jesus to give the people something to eat, the disciples replied: “We have nothing here but fives loaves and two fish”.  And from the fives loaves and two fish, Jesus fed the multitude. Miracles happen when we are open to God’s word and action in our respective lives.  Miracles require that we offer our own loaves and fish which can be our little resource, talent or time.  Miracles thrive with an open soul, open to God’s will.  Miracles happen when we believe, hope and love. Our humble offerings in God’s hands can transform into a miracle.  Miracles happen only when we are do our part.  Our respective involvement in our current condition can translate into a miraculous outpouring of God’s abundant love and presence in our community.

Today’s gospel narrative describes a scene of overflowing abundance not only of material gifts but significantly of the people’s willingness to share from the little that they have and to get organized for the massive sharing of God’s abundant gifts.  We also see the abundance of self-giving on the part of Jesus himself.   Jesus has just learned of the grisly murder of his cousin St John the Baptist.  Worn down by grief and the demands of his ministry, he seeks some time off.  No sooner does he go ashore to find a crowd clamoring for his attention.  Moved by compassion, he puts aside his own needs to minster to the hungry crowds, hungry not only for the Word of God but for real food as well.   We can become overcome by our apparent helplessness to share from our abundance or from what we have to live on.  But God is never outdone in generosity.  Our little contributions to God-worthy endeavors are never left unreturned or repaid in some measure.

Every time we break the Word and share the bread in the Eucharist, we hear the words “Do this in memory of Me!”  The real challenge Jesus puts before us is the call to share with others, not only our own bread but our very selves.  This is a time to build ourselves into a stronger community, more committed to our mission as a welcoming and caring community in this part of God’s universal Church.  As we move on in the midst and beyond this pandemic, let us transform our efforts into wonderful opportunities to relate with one another in a personal way, to encounter one another on behalf of Christ who works miracles in our midst and to strengthen the bonds that hold us together as one people, sharing the one bread in the Eucharist and worshipping the one Lord of all.

At this point of our journey of faith, we have to resolve to present to God our own loaves and fish so that the miraculous outpouring of God’s love and generosity will happen even in the midst of this crisis.

We pray for health, healing and holiness.