The feeding of the 5,000 is one of my favorite miracles performed by Jesus. I love it because it’s a big miracle, but I love it even more because of who actually performed the miracle. Yes, it is quite possible that Jesus turned a scarcity of loaves and fishes into an abundance of food, but Jesus was not just in the business of feeding others; he was also in the business of teaching others how to feed.
I’m hoping that the true miracle happened when the people gathered on that hillside recognized the need among their neighbors and did what they could, together, to solve the problem. As Sister Joan Chittister once said, “do you really think the women would have forgotten to pack a lunch?” No. They didn’t. Women know that a day cannot go by without a request for snacks from the children. The story is the same 2000 years later, our families need to be fed. I think those women reached into their baskets and pulled out food for the 5,000 men, as well as the women and children with them that day.
Whether Jesus literally took the loaves and fishes and multiplied them through his singular power, or whether the people knew it was time to share what they had with their neighbors, it was Jesus’ presence in that moment that enabled the miracle to occur. Jesus was the inspiration. The people did the work.
That miracle is my favorite because it is so very applicable, even today. He showed us that when God is with us, there is no such thing as scarcity. Jesus addressed the root of our fears, that there will never be enough: never enough money, food, accolades, time, space, or love.
If we trust in God, there will always be enough.
Sometimes it feels as if I have not one ounce of love left to give, that my well is dry. I walk through the door exhausted having spent my days listening and caring and loving those around me and wondering if I can give any more before the day is through. Only a few more hours before I can rest, but those few hours are the most important. They are the moments I get with my husband and my children, and I wonder, should I have saved more of my love for them?
Then I remember the miracle. There is no scarcity when God is with me.
God’s love is unending and undying, and there is enough. There will always be enough. And yet, we hear of another school shooting and we wonder if that is true.
There are people all over the world who are lonely and feel as if they don’t belong. Sometimes I wonder if people don’t feel loved because we think we are too tired to love them. We are the carriers of God’s love. We can make a difference. Love makes a difference.
A listening ear and a few moments of time can be the miracle of love they need. Or not. But we can certainly try.