Homily for Monday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time
I think for most of us, in at least one moment of our lives, we have been painfully aware of our own limitations. It typically happens when difficult situations arise where we just have no idea how to handle it or what to do to work through a problem. That’s exactly how the disciples felt in today’s Gospel.
The disciples see a very real problem coming about. The people in the crowd have been waiting for Jesus, probably for quite a long period of time. They were hungry, thirsty, tired. They probably didn’t look the best or smell the best. And the disciples themselves were probably tired and likely didn’t want anything to do with a large group of people at that point. So, they go to Jesus and tell Him to dismiss the crowd so that those who had been waiting could go get something to eat. Then Jesus says to the disciples: “Uh, wait just a second. Not so fast. You give them something to eat. They’re staying and we’re spending time with them.” That’s basically what Jesus says.
I imagine a look of sheer terror came over the faces of the disciples. There was no way for them to feed the crowd. The disciples barely had enough food to sustain themselves, let alone feed anyone else. But what did they do? And this is the lesson for all of us. They brought what they had to Jesus. He was the one who made up for the lack of the disciples. And He wants to do the same with us.
Whenever we are faced with what seems like an impossible situation, or when we have something happen that we don’t know how to handle, whenever our own limitations are smacking us in the face, it is the Lord who can make up for our lack. All we have to do is turn to Him and ask for His grace to make up for our insufficiencies.
We can’t do everything on our own, as much as we would like to think we can. We have to rely on the Lord. He’s waiting for us to recognize that fact. Maybe the next time we humbly bring Him our insufficiencies, He’ll perform another miracle as the multiplication of fish and loaves that happens in today’s Gospel. All we have to do is be willing to ask Him to make up for our limitations.
Painting: Giovanni Lanfranco – Miracle of the Bread and Fish