God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with – Billy Graham
Gospel text (Mt 14:13-21): On hearing the death of John the Baptist, Jesus set out secretly by boat for a secluded place. But the people heard of it, and they followed him on foot from their towns. When Jesus went ashore, He saw the crowd gathered there and He had compassion on them. And He healed their sick.
Late in the afternoon, his disciples came to him and said, «We are in a lonely place and it is now late. You should send these people away, so they can go to the villages and buy something for themselves to eat». But Jesus replied, «They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat». They answered, «We have nothing here but five loaves and two fishes». Jesus said to them, «Bring them here to me».
Then He made everyone sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fishes, raised his eyes to heaven, pronounced the blessing, broke the loaves and handed them to the disciples to distribute to the people. And they all ate, and everyone had enough; then the disciples gathered up the leftovers, filling twelve baskets. About five thousand men had eaten there besides women and children.
The story reminds us how little we seem to have most of the time. How inadequate our efforts seem in the face of the monumental issues confronting us and our world: the enormity of the evil our world faces in the mean-heartedness, the violence, the wars, and the rumors of war that make up the days and the lives of us and our contemporaries; in a word all the inhumane ways that we slash and burn our sisters and brothers and our world. What can be done? We have so little, it seems, in front of it all.
But the truth is that we are not alone. The Risen Jesus continues to be with us and to take the little we have and multiply it for the benefit of others. And that presence of the master makes all the difference in the world. Can we, like the disciples in the gospel today, see it and understand it? Are we willing, like them, to offer the smallness of what we have so that it can be transformed by Jesus?
By quoting St. Josemaria Escrivà, it would not do us any harm to remember here that: «It is a good thing in our apostolate —it is in fact an obligation—to figure out our earthly means (2+2=4), but do not ever forget! you must also luckily count on another addend: God +2 +2...». Christian optimism is not based upon the absence of difficulties, of resistance and of personal errors, but upon God who says: «And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age» (Mt 28:20)
It would be good that both you and I, when facing our own difficulties, and prior to granting a death sentence to the boldness and optimism of the Christian spirit, we could relay upon God. If only we could say along with St. Francis that great prayer: «Wherever there is hate let me put love»; that is, wherever my accounts do not square up, let me rely upon God.