Sunday, August 3, 2014

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs." And don't we know it. How often do we turn to God to fix our intractable problems? War in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere: Pray for peace. Child refugees streaming across our borders: Pray for mercy. The families they left behind: Pray for justice. Drought in the southwest: Pray for rain. Thousands of hungry siblings, and only "five loaves and two fish": Well, we know how that went. Yes, "[the Lord] answers all our needs." But I wonder how many of these pleas for divine intervention are prompted by human laziness or incompetence? Can you see the exasperation in Jesus' eyes as the disciples hand him the loaves and fishes? First they wanted to pawn off the crowd's needs onto the local villagers. Then they held up their meager resources and shrugged. And finally they gave him that look; the look that children give when they expect adults to swoop in and save the day. Now, could the disciples have really fed all those people without a little miracle? Maybe not, but how much effort did they make before expecting one? And so rather than simply oohing and aahing over the outcome of this episode, let us remember our Brother's ignored command: "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves."