In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.”
His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd.
They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
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.
Today is Valentine’s Day and this weekend brings us to Mardi Gras…both secular observances with religious roots. Next Wednesday we begin the 40 days of Lent. As always, such days of transition invite me to take stock of “where I am with the Lord.” It’s one of those “in-between times.”
Today’s gospel account of the feeding of the large crowd leaves no doubt where Jesus stands. God will never be outdone in generosity; Jesus provides loaves and fish in abundance. His gifts of life and love are overflowing, each and every day.
Take a moment in your imagination to stand at Jesus side: help him offer bread and fish to someone in the crowd. Look into that person’s eyes. What do you see? And look into Jesus’ eyes as he reaches out towards each person…and as he reaches out to you. This is indeed the same Jesus we will walk with during the journey of Lent…along the way of the cross to Calvary…and towards the life and hope of Easter resurrection. Go for it!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
My God, what can I believe except what Jesus taught: that only what is first broken, like bread, can be shared; only what is broken is open to your entry. So I believe, Lord; help my unbelief. Help me find courage to keep trying, even when I am tired. Amen.
—Excerpted from “For You, O God,” © 1998, Loyola University Chicago.Please share the Good Word with your friends!