Gospel for Wednesday 12/04 the First Week of Lent.
After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel. Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
Today’s Gospel is a story we’ve heard a thousand times, but one that we can never hear enough. The disciples find themselves facing a seemingly impossible task (feeding thousands with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread) – something I think we can all relate to at some point of time in our own lives. Jesus’ followers set aside their own doubts and concerns, making the courageous choice to trust that if they put their faith in God and follow His ways, everything will work out.
This Gospel passage reminds me of a story from our mission community. A few summers ago, we were hard at work on our last day of the trip. The group was pretty exhausted after a week of moving gravel, painting, moving in new families, and more. Unbeknownst to us while we were working, the ladies in charge of making lunch each day found that they were short on supplies for the peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
They found themselves in a similar situation as the disciples and just as we hear in today’s Gospel, it all worked out. When we sat down for lunch everyone was able to eat and there was one sandwich left – a reminder of the message of the Gospel and the promise of God that when we put our trust in Him and do our best to do God’s work and follow His will, He will always provide more than enough.
Each time we’re on the mission, we put our trust in God – whether we realize it or not – to provide for our needs. Perhaps it’s because we’re so engrossed in the work, distracted by the demands of the day or the opportunity to serve, which doesn’t leave time to worry or doubt – but it’s a lesson we should absolutely carry with us in our day to day lives.