A boy said to his grandmother one day while they were preparing for Church, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" She was flattered and she considered whether the little boy noticed her regular attendance at St. Charles. She mentally polished her halo and said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

It is an old story worth repeating from one generation to the next. It is a story that has been handed down through the ages. It is a story about a miracle, something beyond the ordinary, something beyond comprehension. It is a story about faith and life.

On a day when he was forced by necessity and compassion, Jesus decided to have a picnic. He looked around and saw the multitude of men and women listening to his every word and he soon realized that it was lunch time. So, he asked his disciples to help him. He challenged them to find the solution to this seeming problem. Perhaps he was testing their faith, perhaps he was checking up on their sense of responsibility, perhaps he was preparing them for their future.

His disciples said that it cannot be done. They shrugged their shoulders, calculated how much it would cost them to feed these hungry men and women, and returned to Jesus with the same problem he gave them.

Our loving Lord knew that his disciples did not have any management or pastoral skills. He was just hoping that they would see in Him the possibility of a miracle in the making. From their weakness, Jesus saw their strength. And from these men he had chosen, most of them weak and broken, Jesus showed his caring power.

Andrew, the first recruiter and the first fundraiser, entered the scene. He got his first and only client among the 5,000: a little boy, who was willing to share his lunch, which consisted of five loaves and two fish. And we know the rest of the story.

From the hunger comes the miracle. From the challenge comes the answer. From their doubts come their faith.

It is a lesson for us to remember that when God asks us to take on the impossible, it is meant to manifest Him at work in our lives. When problems seem to be insurmountable and piling one after the other, it is the best time to trust in God. When all we face are dead ends and life brings us more suffering and pain, it is that crucial time to just believe.

No one understood the weaknesses of the human heart as well as Jesus. No one understood the needs of his loved ones as well as Jesus. No one understood the longings of our hearts as well as Jesus.

God wants us to offer what we have so that he can give us something more. This is what happens when we give everything that we have to God. He takes the little that we have and give us more than we need. He takes the little that we offer and grants us more than what we want.

Just like in this miracle story, He does not hold back. There were plenty of food left. Because when God gives, he gives. He is not limited by our experience or our resources. He comes in a different and caring way at a time when we need Him most. He enters our lives in a gentle way and when the miracle that we long expected happens, we know that it was not because of us. It was because of God.

All that we really want to see in our lives and in our hearts is one person who will protect and treasure us till the end. All that we really want to have is one person who authentically cares for us. All that we really need to survive is one person who truly loves us.

Let God do his work. That is why He is God. Of the Ten Commandments, the most difficult was the first one. When we do not allow God to work His plan in our lives, the strange god that we have obstructing his plan is us, you and me.

Perhaps some of us are having difficulty with our lives right now. Perhaps some of us are having problems with family members, jobs, finances or health. Perhaps, we are facing an impossible situation that there seems to be no end to it.

Whatever it is that we are facing, do what the little boy did. Bring to God what you have. Like Andrew, look for a possible solution. There are always people out there who will help you get through this. Never give up. The night is at its darkest moment when the light of dawn is about to break out.

The miracle story we heard was the feeding of the 5,000. But, the greater miracle was the boy’s willingness to give up his food. It is a question as old as time: How many of us are willing to do that? To give up to God what our hands can hold? To give up to God what our hearts can love? To give up to God what we already have in our lives?

26 July 2009

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