This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Tuesday after Epiphany
(Click here for readings)
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go…buy themselves something to eat.” He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of good and give it to them to eat?”
This morning I read a small commentary on today’s scriptural readings.
These days between Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord foreshadow the marvels we can expect to encounter in Jesus Christ… He is the One whose ‘heart is moved with pity’ when he recognizes our bottomless need. Out of our nothingness he will make a miracle of untellable abundance…
Out of our nothingness. Really? I don’t like this reflection. It just doesn’t correspond to the facts. The Lord didn’t take our nothingness. He took something from us. Now I know what the author is trying to say: “We have very little to give to God.” That’s true, to a certain extent. But to say we have nothing to offer is a dangerous thing. It gives us the perfect excuse to excuse ourselves from giving anything. What difference will this make, right?
I believe this comment doesn’t do justice to what the Lord is trying to convey to his followers.
Jesus specifically asked his disciples: “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” He knew. They knew. Everyone knew they didn’t have enough food to feed five thousand people. Regardless, they returned to Him and said, “[We have] five loaves and two fish.”
Did the Lord dismiss their find? Did He mock them? No. The Lord took the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he blessed them… Jesus blessed their humble offering, which was everything they had.
So were five loaves and two fish “nothing?” Absolutely not! And before their eyes, He blessed their humble offering.
They had given Christ (and their neighbors) more than they could have ever imagined!
I can’t do anything about it. The Lord did not ignore his disciples’ find. What he did ignore was their lack of faith: “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?”
Does your lack of faith get in the way of God doing something incredible?
To think we have nothing to offer, nothing to give, is downright wrong and outright dangerous. We do, we have much to give, but we cannot do it alone. We need the Lord’s help. We need His grace. We need His forgiveness. We need his blessing.
All I can do is pray. “I’m gonna pray for my son who left the Church.” “I’m gonna pray for my mother-in-law.” “I’m gonna pray for my spouse.” “I’m gonna pray that God makes me a better person.”
These prayers are all fine and dandy, as long as these prayers don’t end there. We have to add our commitment: our sacrifices and blood.
Christian prayers are not hostage negotiations. It’s not about demanding things or getting things from God. We are not prayer terrorists. We are handmaids of the Lord. We work for the Lord.
Christian prayer is all about team work. It’s all about family The Lord called us his brothers and sisters. So when I ask for the Lord’s help I must promise to give Him mine as well. He taught us how to do this: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Simply demanding that Jesus “take the wheel” is not a Christian prayer. Simply demanding that the Lord change things is not a Christian prayer. It doesn’t work like that. He doesn’t work like that. He wants our two cents. He wants us to let go or to hold on. We always need to be ready and willing to back up our prayers with sweat and blood. This is how the Lord taught us to pray and to live.
I didn’t do anything. Stop the false humility! You did something. You did more than you think. The question is: Did you do something good or bad?
Stop saying, “I really didn’t do anything.” That’s nonsense. What happened is you gave your five loaves and two fish and the Lord blessed it. So stop saying you didn’t do anything when you gave a hand, lent a hand, said something kind, did something beautiful, told someone you loved them, embraced them, or simply sent them a text message telling them you remembered them.
If you still think that was nothing, then imagine having done the opposite. Would that still be nothing? (293)
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