Sharing Our Blessings

Sharing Our Blessings

August 3, 2014 | HNMWebmaster | Blessings, Discipleship, Faith, Generosity, Homilies, Love, Ordinary Time, St. Matthew, Trust

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 3, 2014 – Year A

Readings: Is 55:1-3; Psalm 145; Rom 8:35, 37-39; Mt 14:13-21
by Rev. Mr. Ray Roderique, Permanent Deacon

The central theme of today’s readings is the provident care of a loving and merciful God who generously shares His riches with us, giving us His Son Jesus as our spiritual food, preparing us for the Heavenly banquet, and challenging us to share our blessings with others.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus demonstrates God’s caring love for us by feeding the people, spiritually by his preaching and physically by the miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two fish. The miracle shows the divinity of Jesus, the providing care of God and the compassion of Jesus for the crowd. It is a Messianic sign, presenting Jesus as the new Moses who fed the Israelites in the desert and the new Elisha who miraculously fed the starving people of Gilgal. The Eucharistic wordings used and the promise made by Jesus on the following day that he would give his body and blood as food and drink make the miracle a symbol of the Holy Eucharist.

We need to share our blessings with others around us generously and sacrificially in order to alleviate their spiritual and physical hunger. God lavishly blesses the large-hearted who generously and sacrificially share their resources with others.

Four years ago young Matthew LeSage, a third-grader, wanted to do something to help the hungry in his city. So he started a program, Hams for the Hungry. This year, in its fourth year, Hams for the Hungry will raise $40,000 to brighten the holiday season for people with limited resources. Matthew’s story reminds me of another young man, 13 years old at the time, who read about Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s missionary work in Africa. He wanted to help. He had enough money to buy one bottle of aspirin. He wrote to the Air Force and asked if they could fly over Dr. Schweitzer’s hospital and drop the bottle down to him. A radio station broadcast the story about this young fellow’s concern for helping others. Others responded as well. Eventually, he was flown by the government to Schweitzer’s hospital along with 4 1/2 tons of medical supplies worth $400,000 freely given by thousands of people. This, of course, would be the equivalent of millions of dollars today. When Dr. Schweitzer heard the story, he said, “I never thought one child could do so much.” Our story from Scripture for today, in John’s account, is about a young man who didn’t have much. But what he did have, he offered to Christ. And thousands of hungry people were fed.

Today’s readings tell us that God really cares about His people and that there is enough and more than enough for everybody. Studies show that the world today produces enough food in grain alone to provide every human being on the planet with 3,600 calories a day, not counting such foods as tuber crops, vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits, meats, and fish. Over the past twenty-five years, food production has exceeded world population growth by about 16%. This means that there is no good reason for any human being in today’s world to go hungry. But even in a rich country like the U.S.A., one child out of five grows up in poverty, three million people are homeless and 4000 unborn babies are aborted every day. “The problem in feeding the world’s hungry population lies with our political lack of will. It is too easy to blame God, too easy to blame governments, too easy to see these things as other people’s problems. They are also our problems. That is the meaning of the Eucharist we celebrate here today. In other words, as Christians we have to commit ourselves to share and to work with God in communicating His compassion to all. God is a caring Father, but He wants our co-operation. People of our time have to be encouraged to share, even when they think they have nothing to offer. Whatever we offer through Jesus will have a life-giving effect in those who receive it. We are shown two attitudes in the Gospel story: that of Philip and that of Andrew Philip said, in effect: “The situation is hopeless; nothing can be done.” But Andrew’s attitude was: “I’ll see what I can do, and I will trust Jesus to do the rest.” Let us have Andrew’s attitude.

When we give what we have to God, and we ask Him to bless it, it is then the miracle happens. We, too, can perform wonders in our own time and place, by imitating the four “Eucharistic verbs” of Jesus: Take humbly and generously what God gives us, bless it by offering it to others in God’s love, break away from our own needs and selfish interests for the sake of others and give with joy-filled gratitude to God who has blessed us with so much.