18TH SUNDAY ORDINARY: MT 14: 13-21
Today’s gospel reading gives us the message of sharing what we have with others. What the disciples had — five loves and two fish -they shared with the people and what they got in return was “satisfaction.” In our lives also, if we want to experience true peace, happiness, and satisfaction, we have to share what we have with others. When we share with others, we become closer to God. It is not important how much we share or what we share but it is important to share with joy and a good attitude.
One day, a poor hungry woman came to Mother Teresa and asked for some food for her children; seeing her desperate situation, Mother Teresa arranged some food to be brought to her home. This poor woman shared half of the food she received with her neighbor, who was also hungry. This poor woman teaches us the real example of love and sharing. St. Mother Teresa says that, “One who extends a helping hand is holier than one who extends one’s hands in prayer.” We can experience God’s miracles, when we are ready to give our own time and resources by feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and seeking out the lost and forgotten.
We can reflect on today’s Gospel: The disciples said to Jesus, “It is getting late and this is an isolated place, send the people back to the towns for food.” Jesus said to the disciples, “There is no need for them to go; give them some food yourselves.” By saying this Jesus wanted to teach the disciples that, “Do not wait for someone else to do it,” “Do not pretend you are not qualified or capable.” “Do not delay it, rather do something for them right now.” Again, Jesus challenged the disciples by asking: “How many loaves do you have?” They had only five loaves and two fish. When they offered the little that they had — with total generosity — the miracles happened!
Jesus did not feed the crowd directly; Jesus left this to his disciples. Jesus still does the same; today Jesus is asking each of us: “How many loaves do you have?” Without asking anything from His disciples, Jesus could have done the miracles. But Jesus always expects something on our part—our cooperation, effort, commitment, sacrifice and hard work. When we do our part well, God will do the rest. When we willingly make sacrifices to give to God whatever we have and in spite of our weaknesses, selfishness, pride, and so on, God can perform miracles through each of us.
Today’s readings challenge us to trust in the providence of a loving and caring God and to show our compassion and generosity to the poor and needy. The gospel message helps us to understand our hunger and thirst for the Bread of eternal life, which is the Holy Eucharist. As human persons, we hunger for many things. We hunger for recognition, true friendship, truth, faith, hope, and love. But only God can satisfy the various forms of our spiritual hunger. The bread of life, which is Jesus Himself, gives us a new relationship with God: a relationship of trust, obedience, and love. Let us become bread for each other and as we break it and share it with others, we will experience joy and peace of heart!