Feeding 5000

Yesterday took us back to that field where five thousand and more gathered to hear the Lord speak.  It takes us to that moment when a small boy offered five loaves and two fish to help feed the multitude and to the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.  It’s one of my favourite gospel passages.  In fact it’s the one I used at my father’s Funeral Mass since he did his bit to feed the multitudes throughout his life and, in a particular way, towards the latter end of that life – insisting that everyone who called to the house, even for a minute, had to be fed before leaving!!  I shared again at Mass yesterday the few lines I’d written as a Post Communion reflection at Bill’s Mass.  Though they are elsewhere on this blog, I thought I might repeat them here as well.

Let us never underestimate the difference our offering, however small or humble, can make …..

They asked me why I did it?

The truth is I don’t know – it just seemed the right thing to do. We had been standing there for hours. He had spoken so much, said so much – time just went by. People were hungry. You could see it in them and yet nobody wanted to leave. There was a muttering through the crowd – “he wants to feed us” – “With what?” someone said – “there’s no food here”.

That’s when I heard myself saying “I have something” – my voice seemed so loud. I was only a child but my voice rose above all others. “I have something”. A man asked what had I and I said “five loaves and two fish” – he smiled. I suppose now I would think it was a dismissive smile but that day I thought he was pleased. He passed on the message “There’s a small boy here with five loaves and two fish” –my heart sank when he added “but what is that between so many?” I blushed and even with my childish counting of two and two making four, I could see he was right. The man who had been talking to us did not agree. “Bring it to me”, he said and they took my food. I’ll never know how it happened but the feeding began. Bread and fish fed to five thousand.

“Why did you do it?” I’ve often thought about that. I did it because my father would have done it. He was always sharing bread with people at home. I grew up seeing him do that. Truth be told, it was he who had given me the few loaves and fish before I left the house. I did it because he would have done it. It was the right thing to do.

There’s nothing to beat the good example of a father …..