“Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd… They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full..’” (Mark 8:6-8)
For some days now, our readings, especially our Gospel passages have been centred on the miracles of Jesus. Amongst all these miracles, the feeding of the multitude is very unique and it contains so many lessons for us even today:
One, GENEROSITY. Notice that it was only after they all ate and were satisfied that the people realized a miracle had just taken place. Whatever you share increases. No one ever became poor by giving.
Two, THANKSGIVING. The feeding of the multitude by Jesus is the physical origin of the Eucharist. Jesus performed this miracle to prepare the people (wet their appetite) for his own body and blood. In fact, the very word Eucharist means Thanksgiving. By giving thanks, Jesus made seven loaves and a few small fish multiply to feed four thousand. Thanksgiving multiplies things. Eckhart Tolle once said: “If the only prayer you ever said is ‘Thank You’, it will be enough.”
Three, LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE. To be in charge of a group of people should never be seen as a privilege. It is a calling. Leadership is being able to bring oneself down to the level of people,. A good leader is compassionate. Jesus says in today’s Gospel passage: “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me three days now and have nothing to eat.”
A good leader feels the pulse of his people. He always puts himself in the shoes of the people. A good leader does not discriminate, a good leader is just and fair to everyone not minding who comes from his tribe or not. However, providing the needs of the people does not mean leading them into sin as Rehoboam did in today’s first reading.
Four, NO SITUATION IS HOPELESS. No matter how tough life may be for you, there is always seven loaves and two fish somewhere. When it seemed as if providing bread for the multitude was going to be a “mission impossible” Jesus asked: “How many loaves have you? Stop complaining about life. Yes, life is hard in this country but who says life is easy anywhere in the world? Start from somewhere. Look around you, there is something God has given you that is capable of turning your situation around.
Five, WASTING IS SINFUL. It is interesting to note that Jesus ordered them to gather the left-overs. Never throw food away; by so doing, you deprive a lot of hungry stomachs all over the world. Never let your food go bad; be generous! Check your store every day and if you notice you have more food than you can eat before it goes bad, give them away.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to always be grateful and to tap into the power of giving thanks. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Kings 12:26-32,13:33-34, Ps. 106:6-7,19-22, Mark 8:1-10).