A teenage boy once said to God: “I’ve been thinking God….I know what I want when I grow up….I want to live in a big house with a nice garden and two Saint Bernard dogs. I want to marry a tall, blond, blue-eyed beautiful girl and have three sons – one who will be a lawyer, one a doctor and one a professional baseball player. I also want to be an adventurer, who climbs tall mountains and drives a red Ferrari.”
As it turned out, the boy hurt his knee one day playing football. So he could no longer climb trees, let alone mountains. He married a lovely and kind woman, but she was short and had brown hair and brown eyes. Because his business had limited success, he lived in an apartment in the city and traveled by bus. He had three loving daughters, one a nurse, another a music teacher and the third was an artist.
One day the man woke up and he remembered his teenage dream. He became extremely depressed, so much so that he became very ill. Lying in a hospital bed, he called out to God: “Oh God, remember when I was young and I told you all the things I wanted. Why didn’t you give me those things?”
God broke the silence and spoke: “I could have, but I wanted you to be happy!”
What we have……What we don’t have….This is so much tied into today’s Gospel (Matt 14: 13-21). In today’s Gospel a very large crowd follows Jesus out to a deserted place. As evening approaches, people are getting hungry. There are no Seven-Eleven’s around. Jesus’ disciples say to dismiss the crowds so they can go and find food and lodging in the surrounding towns and villages.
Then Jesus says something I find to be most interesting: “Give them some food yourselves.”And the disciples say: “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Jesus says, “Bring them here to me.”Jesus then shows them what he can do with the little they had. Jesus multiples the little they have and feeds thousands of people.
So often we are spiritually and emotionally hungry, especially as this pandemic goes on and on and on for months. Don’t tell Jesus what you DON’T HAVE. Tell Jesus what you DO HAVE, as little as it might be. You’ll be amazed at what Jesus will able to do with the little you have.
The man in my opening story got sick thinking about all he didn’t have. But when God allowed him to see what he did have – a job, a roof over his head, and a nice wife and daughters – God showed him how he took what he had and multiplied it, so that he would find true happiness.
Over my 51 years as a priest, I’ve come to know some fairly wealthy families. I’ve known some quite well. I would not consider any of them to be very happy at all. They can go to wonderful places and they have a lot of things, but all that wealth has brought them is a lot more worries and problems than they ever wanted to have in life.
During this pandemic with its lockdowns and isolation, we easily can call out to the Lord, “Lord, I’m so lonely. I live alone and hardly anyone calls me.”
Jesus says to us: “But what DO YOU HAVE? Bring it to me and watch what I can do with it.”
Not too long ago I brought Jesus my singleness, since I live alone without a family around me. Jesus sent me three people who were struggling with cancer as I did 20 years ago and they were living alone. Despite the pandemic, I’ve been able to be a great support to them via the internet, the phone and the sending of a card or two.
I know of a person who told Jesus that all they had was their two hands. Jesus asked them to give him their hand and he would show them how to pray –
The thumb– Pray for those who are the closest to you.
The pointing finger– Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.
The tallest finger– Pray for our leaders, no matter how much you might despise some of them.
The ring finger– Pray for those who are married and for families to stay strong during this pandemic.
The little finger– Pray for yourself, your own needs, “the least shall become the greatest.”
Jesus is telling us that he can work an even greater miracle in and through us if we would only give him the little that we have.
Start with the Hand Prayer and pray it today and in the future with your hand.
What can you give to Jesus….it doesn’t have to be much….so that he can multiply it like the loaves and fish?
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