Gospel Reflections

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 14:13-21

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Terry Davis

Published: August 03, 2014

This Gospel is familiar, perhaps too familiar, and it is always good to slow down and look very carefully at what we think we already know. We know how the story goes and we know the ending, but what does it mean today, right now, for me? Do I leave familiar Gospel passages at the surface and therefore not where they can touch and move and inspire me? I think I do that often.

So, what does this story of the multiplying of basic food mean…to me? I begin with the disciples who were struggling to respect the request of the Master in the face of such immense need…”Give them some food yourselves.” Really? How can the meager level of my resources really make any difference? I can’t possibly make a dent in the staggering problem of human hunger. And this is true. I have too little.

But if I stay there, in the poverty of my gifts, then I really can do nothing. What Jesus seems to be saying is that we must change where we are looking, shift our gaze from what little we have to how great and good God is. I believe our call is to give everything we have, no matter how inadequate, and allow it to be blessed and broken in God’s hands and then given. Only then will it be enough, only when we give everything that we have to the wide grace of the God who longs to fill every need.

I am reminded of the call from Pope Francis to a day of prayer and fasting when the bombing of Syria was so close at hand. It did seem a weak and paltry response to a terrible and impending disaster. But many of us took up the call on that day. I only know that there was no bombing. And I believe that when we handed over our small gestures of sacrifice and prayer that God took them and blessed them. And then they were enough.


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