April 24, 2020 – Friday of the Second Week of Easter
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042420.cfm)
Every day we receive updates of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the daily rising number of confirmed cases is frightening. Moreover, the number of recoveries is also very slow. As a response, our Government leaders both at the national and local levels, are planning to extend lockdown and Community Quarantine.
As much as this would be necessary to control the virus and prevent more infections, ensure recoveries and prevent deaths, such measure can also lead to other problems. One that would most likely be the biggest problem is the security of food and prevention hunger particularly of those who are most vulnerable now in our community. Construction and contractual workers, vendors, garbage collectors and other daily wage earners would surely continue to suffer.
Thus, there is a need for us that we too shall become aware of the hunger that our brothers and sisters around us are suffering during this time. We cannot be blind and indifferent to this need. Our Gospel would actually help us to be more conscious of such hunger and of other forms of hunger around us.
St. John told us that Jesus was aware of the needs of the people. He was not just conscious of the spiritual hunger of the people but even their physical hunger. This consciousness of Jesus impelled him to ask Phillip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Jesus was not simply seeing their hunger, he too felt their hunger. This urged Jesus to do something.
However, Jesus needed the participation of other people around him. Phillip could not think of anything since they did not have enough money to buy food for all.
It was Andrew who brought to Jesus a boy who had five barley loaves and two fish. The appearance of the boy in the story was very symbolic. He was nameless and faceless and was just a boy and the small food that he brought to Jesus was something.
The nameless boy and his small share was the perfect offering that Jesus needed so that the people will be fed. Certainly, it was through that boy who had five loaves and two fish that Jesus did something which made everyone to wonder.
What this Gospel tells us is the wonder when small act of generosity makes a difference to many. Thus, the little food that the boy had, was transformed into many. That small share given became abundant.
This is where we find God’s invitation for us today. We are invited by Jesus to offer sincerely the little that we have. We might be thinking that the world’s problem on hunger is too big for us to respond and our share will only be insignificant. But let us remember, the five loaves and two fish of that nameless boy were actually insignificant compared to the five thousand men. However, that boy did not ran away to hide what he had, rather, he offered generously what he had to Jesus.
The boy and his action were symbols of our own vulnerability and weakness and at the same time the power behind a generous and kind action. To give away the little that we have, makes us insecure, yet, it is actually through the little that we possess that the Lord can work wonderfully. When we give something and then we feel vulnerable because that was all we have, no matter how small, is actually the fruit of our generosity. Let us not wait for us to be materially rich before we give, because even the poorest of us can give something to others.
This has been happening already these days. There have been individuals, families and groups, religious and private agencies who extended their generosity to others. Those many efforts done for the sake of others were perfect offering to the Lord to make wonders.
Thus, the Lord invites us today to be generous with what we have, no matter how small or inadequate it may be in our eyes and for others. Just like in the Gospel, the Lord needs our participation, our small contribution so that he too can work wonders through us and through our small acts of generosity and kindness.
Jesus needs us to be generous with what we have today so that the Lord will be able to continue to feed the various hungers around us. These many hungers involve hunger for food, for shelter, for a home and family, for friendship, for acceptance, for love and intimacy, for healing, or for a deeper relationship with God.
Take time today to be that nameless boy who generously offered the little things he had, to make a generous action towards those people around you, no matter how small would that be as long as it is given in generosity and kindness, the Lord will surely make it wonderful. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR