Thursday, July 31, 2014

Give them some food yourselves

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 3, 2014

Matthew 14:13-21

Jesus is busy healing the sick and malnourished people that have been brought to him from everywhere. He does it, according to the evangelist, because their suffering touches him. Meanwhile his disciples see that it's getting very late. Their dialogue with Jesus allows us to penetrate the inner meaning of the episode erroneously called "the multiplication of the loaves."

The disciples make a realistic and reasonable suggestion to Jesus: "Dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." They have already received the attention they needed from Jesus. Now let everyone go back to their villages and buy something to eat according to their resources and capabilities.

Jesus' reaction is surprising: "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." Hunger is too serious a problem for us to ignore each other and let each one solve it in his own village as he can. It's not the time to separate but to unite more than ever to share what there is among all without excluding anyone.

The disciples show him that there are only five loaves and two fish. It doesn't matter. A little bit is enough when shared generously. Jesus orders everyone to sit down in the meadow to celebrate a great meal. Suddenly everything changes. Those who were about to separate to satisfy their hunger in their own village, sit together around Jesus to share what little they have. That's how Jesus wants to see the human community.

What happens with the loaves and fishes in Jesus' hands? He doesn't "multiply" them. First, he blesses God and gives thanks. That food comes from God; it belongs to all. Then he breaks them and gives them to the disciples. The latter, in turn, give them to the people. The loaves and fishes were passed from one to another. Thus all were able to satisfy their hunger.

The Archbishop of Tangier has raised his voice once again to remind us of "the suffering of thousands of men, women and children who, left to their fate or persecuted by governments, and delivered up to the usurious and enslaving power of the mafias, beg, survive, suffer, and die along the road of emigration."

Instead of uniting our forces to eradicate world hunger at its root, we just shut ourselves in our "selfish comfort", raising increasingly degrading and murderous barriers. In the name of what God do we dismiss them to drown in their misery? Where are the followers of Jesus? When will Jesus' cry  -- "Give them some food yourselves" -- be heard in our Masses?

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