Reflections 2nd August 2020 

A Reflection for the 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

MT 14: 13-21 (  

Like those five thousand, not counting the women and children, who gathered to hear Jesus, we too want to listen to his words and to receive his life. 

We may feel the way that the disciples did. Faced with so many kinds of hunger in our world, we might say to ourselves: “Things don’t add up; we will never manage, there is nothing to be done”. And so our hearts yield to despair about the worries of the world and we want them to go away. But Jesus was for gathering-in and never sending away so he once more turns to us and says: “They don’t need to go away; you yourselves, give them something to eat”. Jesus says “Together we can do something”. Let us begin by blessing and then we will see what happens. And an amazing thing happened.

As the food was passed along. Jesus generated a kind of electrical current one to another as the sharing went on, each one gifting another. It is this current of goodness that we are asked to recreate today in each of us passing on goodness to another until it reaches everybody. Unbelievably, there were even leftovers: enough to fill seven baskets. Scraps have value for Jesus. How often we feel that our lives are scrappy, not up to much. The gifts that we offer at Eucharist, tokens of ourselves, are scraps; tiny pieces of bread, a drop of wine. We offer them to the More Maker to make them and us into more; to make both of us into Eucharist “bread broken for the life of the world”. Amazing things can happen.

And all waited to be served.  We queue for Holy Communion and this brings us into solidarity with all those who have to wait and queue in our world today. Jobless people queuing for a living, homeless people lining up for a hostel voucher. People waiting in hospital lines and corridors. Asylum-seekers and refugees waiting to be given an opportunity. Destitute people all over the world queuing for relief and aid. It is all these people that we carry with us in our hearts in our queuing for ‘Holy Communion’. And been given it, we are commissioned for mission to give to others and this opens the way for amazing things to happen.

Brian O’Toole C.S.Sp. – Fr. Brian is Manager of the Heritage & Archives Centre of the Irish Province. He served with the Hamer people in Ethiopia, was part of the leadership team of the Spiritans in Ireland and co-ordinated the Justice Desk of the then Irish Missionary Union.