In Sunday’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus feeds the 5,000. I have heard suggestions that rather than feeding the people, Jesus encouraged them to share amongst themselves and that was the miracle. While I agree there is an element of sharing, I believe that God, who created all life out of nothing, can certainly multiply the loaves and fish presented to Him.
God is generous with us. He gives us what we truly need, when we need it, plus more. Perhaps in our plenty, we lose sight of just how blessed we really are. We look at what others have, what they can do, where they can go, and we want those blessings instead of thanking God for what He has given us and asking His help to use those gifts to the best of our ability. When Jesus fed the people, His generosity was recorded as having twelve baskets of leftovers that were gathered. I wonder how big these baskets were? Were they like the stone jars holding the water that Jesus turned into wine at the wedding feast of Cana? All totaled, those jars probably held over 100 gallons of water-turned-wine, another example of God’s generosity. If the baskets were comparable in size, then twelve baskets would have held much more than five loaves and two fish!
In Jesus’ last directive to the disciples at this event, He tells them to gather the remnants. Why? Couldn’t whatever is leftover be fed to the animals, or be used in compost to enrich the soil for new growth? Even though these two things are good deeds, they are not on the same level as feeding children who are made in the image and likeness of God. In gathering the extra bread and fish, our attention is called to God’s generosity, which should not be left to waste. When we receive from God, we are called to use His gifts well and then gather up what remains and share it with others. Not as a cast off of what we received, but in a selfless sharing of His blessings. We can often take this to a literal sense, and think that it’s only about money. But as the saying goes, “Time is money,” so how do you spend your time? Do you participate in volunteering your time to events that support the welfare of the community? How about the gifts of your talents? God has blessed us each with unique abilities, do we use them only for ourselves or do we share them with others?
God showed the ultimate generosity by giving us His Beloved Son. We will never be able to exceed God’s generosity, and He has shown us that He gives more than we need. Let us be generous with others, with our time, our resources, and the Love that is God Himself.