Saturday, July 30, 2011

Not Much, But Enough

The Gospel for this Sunday tells the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. While we often focus on the fact that Jesus was able to feed thousands, there is another important detail that bears reflections. Matthew's Gospel tells us that the disciples had merely five loaves and two fish. Matthew does not say where they came from, but one thing is clear: they were a crucial part of the miracle. You see, Jesus worked with what He had, and those who brought Him the few loaves and fish, even though not very much, cooperated in the miracle.
Notice that Jesus did not magically create food out of nothing. Creating out of nothing was accomplished by the Father in the beginning. From that point on, creation always was building on what already was. So the Lord took what already was (5 loaves, 2 fish) and multiplied them so that there was enough for everyone. And this miracle was not simply about food.
Jesus, by showing us how bread and fish could be multiplied, assured us that our own generosity, good works, etc. can also be multiplied. All that is necessary is that we present it to Jesus and cooperate with Him. By turning over what is "mine" and allowing God to work in our lives, the smallest thing can have a big impact. Whether a kind word, a helpful gesture, or even some of our own treasure, when given to God all of this can be multiplied and touch many people. Witness what happens when there is a natural disaster. People feel moved to donate, even though no one has enough to make an impact alone. But when enough people get involved (encouraged by the example of others), the impact is huge.
Just so a small act of kindness, freely given, can be multiplied by God. That is why we should never think that what we do is unimportant, that we cannot make a difference. After all, whoever brought the five loaves and two fish never imagined that thousands would be able to eat because of it. In the end, by cooperating with God, it was not much, but definitely enough.

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