10 On their return the apostles told Jesus all they had done. He took them with him and withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured. 12 The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
The gulf between the abundance and scarcity in life constantly vacillates in human life. Matter becomes an important phenomenon in life because it has its influence on our spirituality. The creator God created the world with abundance and the monopoly of abundance by a few is an unending problem and a deep spiritual question. The new community in Jesus always shares and rejoices its abundance to negate the paucity in life. Today’s text registers one of the miracles that Jesus performed when he identified people are starving.
Food, shelter and dress are the basic needs for the human community. Today, the ubiquity of poverty is a sign of shame on the human race and challenges every community to heed to the cry of the hungry. We can’t imagine the world’s “super power” like the USA, too struggling with poverty issues. The spiritual lenses demand us to be more sensitive towards this issue of poverty and hunger because we believe in the beloved community of Jesus, and we belong to it.
One of the statistics notes that in America, “as Congress remains deadlocked on a new coronavirus economic stimulus package, two new studies show at least 6 million more people in the US are in poverty due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. A study from Columbia University published that the number of Americans in poverty grew by 8 million since May 2020”.1 Globally, the situation is alarming and calls us to participate in the mission of eradicating poverty locally and globally.
Jesus invited the disciples to take care of the needy. The reign of God makes everyone accessible to the essential needs and affirms life for all. It calls the insensitive minds to share their abundance with the needy. It's a moral and a spiritual demand. We learn this paradigm of sharing from Jesus himself. He denied his glory and identified with humanity to show us the real path for the abundance of all. In our consumerist world, the competitive spirit has spoiled the very essence of life in the world. We can see that there were nearly 5,000 men (the count of women and children are missing. So, it might be approximately 15,000 to 20,000). He wanted to feed those who were hungry.
“You give them something to eat.” - When disciples explained the difficulties to feed such a huge crowd, Jesus wanted them to take responsibility in resolving the issue of hunger by the act of sharing. Many times, we forget to use our resources and lack faith in the other due to suspicious tendencies and shallow ideologies. Faith in Christ turns every situation to realize the miracle. Here, the disciples indignantly looked for resources and found “five loaves and two fishes”. Jesus turned the limited resource into abundance. Sociologically, this text dictates another insight beyond the mystic directives of the narrative. We need to understand that when the little boy shared his food with Jesus then everyone who was present in the crowd shared their resources with Jesus which concluded in seeing the abundance for all ceasing the scarcity.
The act of sharing: This text calls us to share our abundance with the needy. Many times, we lack opportunity to share. But the living body of Christ even invites us today to share our resources to witness God’s wonderful miracles. The medical mission, the Barnie Parker Sharing Shed, Women Helping Women, the Thrift Shop, and Labor of Love are some of our missions that invite us to share our love for others. We could participate in our call by our prayers and generous giving to transform the predicaments in our society.
Let us continue to engage in the act of sharing, even though it is less; let us reflect Christ by sharing ourselves to extend the abundance of Christ to all.
May God Bless these words! Amen.