The story of the feeding of the crowd is a story we are very conversant with. The lessons from this encounter between Jesus and the crowd are enormous. There are many lessons one can sieve out from the feeding of the crowd.
In today’s feeding of the four thousand, one can discuss the omnipotent power of Jesus, His power over impossible cases, His will to save, what we can get from the Lord, the compassionate heart of Jesus, the power of His presence, the power of thanksgiving, the way Jesus nourishes and satisfies us etc. But today, we focus our attention on when we think there is nothing we can do, using the apostles of Jesus as a case study.
The Apostles know there is Nothing they can do.
When Jesus sees that the crowd are with Him for three days without eating anything. He tells His apostles that He cannot just send them away like that. Jesus pitied them because He knows that some of them must be hungry, and some came from a very far distance.
When the disciples understood that Jesus was looking for a way to feed the crowd. They reminded Him that yes, it is true that they are hungry, but there is nothing they can do about it.
Their reasons are 1. There are many people. So, there is no way one can feed such a large number of people.
2. They have only a few loaves of bread and a few fish, which is practically impossible to feed such a large number of people.
3. They are in a deserted place, and as such, there is nowhere one can even buy more loaves of bread to feed the people. These factors prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is nothing one can do. But in the Lord’s presence, what to do is never a problem. For human reasoning, some situations are practically, reasonably and every calculation prove that there is nothing we can do. But human beings are not God. He is beyond nature, and as such, He is supernatural.
During the annunciation when the Blessed Virgin Mary asked the Angel “How is this possible since I am a virgin”? The Angel responded “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (Luke 1:35).
This indicates that for human reasoning, what we see before us may be impossible, without a solution, and nothing we can do, but what we see and think may not be true. God always has a solution to every situation. So, when we think there is nothing we can do, God may have something already in store.
A Little Digest.
This lesson today is just a summary of my encounter with someone where I am. After the mass of that day, the young man came to me and said “father, what you said today about God is true. I am a living witness”.
The young man continued; “I lost my parents at the age of twelve and almost lost hope in life. Then, I lived my life in the streets, and many times I thought of committing suicide. I never knew I could be like this today. I was treated like a nobody”.
“But one day, during the feast of Christ the King, I knelt and cried to Jesus as the priest was raising the Blessed Sacrament. I was only shouting, ‘Jesus please do not forget me or I will die. Save me, Lord’. I shouted this repeatedly until the ceremony was over. It was while I was crying, I never knew that someone was watching me. The woman approached me and asked me why I was crying”.
“I told her that I have no parents and no one to help me. She took me home and took care of me as a son. Today I am a dentist. When I look back to how I was and how I am today, I cannot but say that all you said today is true”.
I was touched by his story. Such is life. That we think there is nothing we can do is not a fact there is nothing we can do. When we think all hope is lost is not true that all hope is lost. That you have lost hope in yourselves is not proof that God has lost hope in you.
There are times we ask questions like “How can this be done? Who will be there for me? How can one pay all these? How can I get married? Etc. Man is always filled with the question of how. But man forgets that the “how-to” is always in the hands of God.
Always make sincere efforts and do the best you can. God understands the future more than we do, and He knows what would happen more than we also do. Instead of thinking that nothing can be done, think of what God can still do despite the situation.
Secondly, put the little you have in action. This is actually what Jesus did today in the feeding of the four thousand. When you put the little you have, you will never know the type of result it will bring. Begin to make that little effort, try the much you can. The multiplication may even surprise you.
Once God is involved, that little time, efforts and finance may multiply into something you will never understand. That little video or write up you put on the internet can touch and convert thousands of souls. What to do is ours to do but how it will happen is always at the level of the supernatural.
Remain In God’s Presence.
Sometimes when we face impossible situations, there is the temptation to quit and lose hope in life. Do we remember that the reason Jesus fed the crowd today is not that they begged Him to, or that they told Jesus they are hungry, no. Jesus told His apostles “I pity these people because they have been with me for three days now and now have nothing to eat”.
They were with the Lord for three days, listening to Him and interacting with Him. The crowd were hungry for the Lord and His words. So the only reason they drew the attention and compassion of Jesus is that they have stayed with Him for a while. But today, we cannot even observe one minute before the Lord, and yet we come back to blame God for everything.
The crowd did not request anything from the Lord. The only thing they did was to remain in His presence for three days and listen to Jesus. Then Jesus discovers there is a lack and comes to their help. No single time in the presence of God is a waste.
May God help us and give us the grace to remain close to Him even during challenges. May He continue to protect you. Amen.