“And he commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd… And they ate, and were satisfied; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people.” Mark 8:6-9.
For some days now, our readings, especially our Gospel passages have been centred on the miracles of Jesus. Amongst all these miracles, the feeding of the multitude stands out as one of the most significant in that it contains so many lessons for us even today:
One, GENEROSITY. Notice that it was only after they all ate and were satisfied that the people realized a miracle had just taken place. Dear friends, whatever you share increases. No one ever became poor by giving.
Two, THANKSGIVING. The feeding of the multitude by Jesus is the physical origin of the Eucharist in that Jesus performed this miracle to prepare the people (wet their appetite) for his own body and blood. In fact, the very word Eucharist means Thanksgiving. By giving thanks, Jesus made seven loaves and a few small fish multiply to feed four thousand. At every mass, the priest give thanks and by so doing, the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Jesus.
Thanksgiving multiplies things. Thanksgiving changes everything for good. Thanksgiving brings you joy when it seems as if life is hard and tough. Philippians 4:6 says: “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Eckhat Tolle once said: “if the only prayer you ever said is ‘Thank You’, it will be enough.”
Three, LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE. To be in charge of a group of people should never be seen a privilege. It is a calling. Leadership is being able to bring oneself down to the level of people, being able to understand their plights and attend to their needs. A good leader is compassionate. Listen to the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel passage: “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me three days now and have nothing to eat.”
A good leader feels the pulse of his people. He always puts himself in the shoes of the people. A good leader does not discriminate, a good leader is just and fair to everyone not minding who comes from his tribe or not. However, providing the needs of the people does not mean leading them into sin as Rehoboam did in today’s first reading.
Four, NO SITUATION IS HOPELESS. No matter how tough life may be for you, there is always seven loaves and two fish somewhere. When it seemed as if providing bread for the multitude was going to be a “mission impossible” Jesus asked: “How many loaves have you? Stop complaining about life. Yes, life if hard in this country but who says life is easy anywhere in the world? Start from somewhere. Look around you, there is something God has given you that is capable of turning your situation around.
Five, WASTING IS SINFUL. It is interesting to note that Jesus ordered them to gather the left-overs. Never throw food away; by so doing, you deprive a lot of hungry stomachs all over the world. Never let your food go bad; be generous! Check your store every day and if you notice you have more food than you can eat before it goes bad, give them away.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to always be grateful and to tap into the power of giving thanks. Amen. St. Scholastica, pray for us.
*Be happy, live positive, it is well with you. Saturday of the 5th week in Ordinary time. Bible Study: 1st Kings 12:26-13:34 and Mark 8:1-10.*