Five Loaves and Two Fish

Homily for Tuesday after Epiphany | Memorial of St. John Neumann

Five loaves and two fish. How many times in our lives have we felt like the apostles in today’s Gospel, when we realize that we are being asked to provide so much more than we actually have? What are some of those moments in our lives when we were down to five loaves and two fish and were still being asked to give more?

  • My marriage is going through a rough patch, I don’t know if we’re going to make it.
  • One of my parents is sick and I’m the primary caregiver. I’m at my whit’s end and not sure where to turn or what to do next.
  • I am working two jobs to support my family and we’re still short every month.
  • I am a single parent trying to raise two children, I’m really struggling and don’t know if I can go on any further.

Five loaves and two fish. In these moments, there are two routes we can choose to go. One route leads to worry, anxiety, restlessness. The other leads to a sense of peace, as we embrace a total abandonment and radical trust in God.

If you’re anything like me, I like to be prepared for every little circumstance. If something goes wrong, I want to be able to have the resources that I need to fix the issue and keep things moving smoothly. But a lot of times, what is going on in our hearts when we are thinking about all of the different things that can go wrong? We start to focus on the minute details of things. We become so fixated on the most mundane thing that we miss the bigger picture. We start to feel anxious, overwhelmed, sometimes powerless and hopeless. Maybe we even become fearful, thinking that we may not have everything that we needed, that there might be something that we didn’t think about. In the end, all of these responses can be an expression of a lack of trust that God will provide for us in those situations…or in the very least, that He will be with us in the midst of them.

Five loaves and two fish. When we are feeling like we can’t go on any further, when we feel like there is nothing more that we can give, we are called to turn to the Lord. We are invited to entrust every situation that we face, every circumstance of our lives to Him. It’s an invitation to keep our eyes fixed on Him.

What if, in the moments when we were down to five loaves and two fish, we entrusted that situation to the Lord? What if we changed our perspective and viewed these moments as an opportunity to be led to a deeper encounter with the Lord? He may not change the situation we are experiencing…at least in the way we expect Him to. But he will be there with us in it. That’s the whole point of this Christmas season. God stepped down from Heaven to show us what it means to truly live. He entered into the darkness and brokenness of humanity to bring light into those situations that we face.

Five loaves and two fish. Are you going through one of those moments now? If you are, which route will you choose to take? Will you focus on the minute details and try to figure things out yourself? Or will you choose the other route and call out on the name of the Lord?

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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