The stories in our First Reading and the Gospel today are very similar: The people were very far away from their town and hungry. One person had a loaf of bread but there were too many people to feed. Then Jesus blessed the loaves and multiplied them for everybody to eat. These Scripture readings invite us to pay attention and do something about, the reality that many people, particularly children, are malnourished or die of hunger globally. In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that over 811 million people (10% of global population) were undernourished in 2020. This is an alarming increase of world hunger from previous years, much of it related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Often the statistics about hunger in the world make us feel like the disciples in the Gospel today; helpless and permissive. They felt helpless because of the needs of the hungry crowd with very little resources available to meet those needs. When faced with the reality of hunger in the world today, we often fi nd reasons to distance ourselves from the hungry people, excuse ourselves from reaching out to them and limit our compassion to “well-wishes” for the victims, hoping that someone else will take the step of reaching out and doing the work to meet their needs.
The truth is that Jesus can, and still wants to, work the miracle of the multiplication of loaves to feed all the hungry people in the world today; however, the miracle will not happen without someone to provide “five barley loaves and two fi sh.” The challenge for each of us today is to be like the little boy in the Gospel. Each of us has something to off er to God for the needs of those around the world. It is not up to us to feed 5,000 people. All we need to do is off er what we have to Jesus and ask Him to multiply it for us.
The invitation today goes beyond sharing our physical food with the hungry. It involves attending to the needs of those who are spiritually “malnourished” around us as well. We are also invited to generously share our blessings of talents, time and resources with our Church community and those in need around us. I thank everyone who is already doing this through your private charities and personal support to our parish community. May God continue to replenish your source of “loaves and fi shes” so you can continue to share your blessings with those in need around us.BACK TO LIST