Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 15:29-37. This is a reading where Jesus performs many miracles for three days. He tells His apostles that He is concerned for the flocks of people who have been listening to Him. He is worried that they will collapse on their journey home. The apostles reply that they had seven loaves of bread and two fish. But how can they possibly feed the multitude of people who are there?
We see the same story in John 6:1-5. In this version, St. John tells of a boy who had the seven loaves of bread and two fish. The boy offered them to the Apostles. How tentative this offer must have been. If the boy gave away his food, how would he eat? How would he help his family eat? Yet, the boy trusted in Jesus and His miracles. Sure enough, Jesus turned these seven loaves and two fish into many more, so that two basketfuls were leftover. Let's not forget about this boy.
If the boy had not said "yes" to offering his bread and fish, then the miracle wouldn't have taken place. So many people read these Gospel stories and focus on the miracle, as they should. But the boy is often overlooked. He trusted Jesus, he shared his bread and fish, and he was part of one of Jesus' most famous miracles. All he had to do was say, "yes." He helped to feed thousands of hungry people.
Recently, my family all had COVID. Praise be to God, all of our symptoms were fairly minor and we are thankful that we now have antibodies. On the last day of our isolation, I was cooking dinner and the stove caught fire! I ripped Little Andrew out of his high chair and dialed 911 as I yelled at Alexander and Abby to grab their shoes and run outside. My husband stayed behind and used TWO fire extinguishers to put out the fire right as three firetrucks pulled up. This all happened in our newly renovated kitchen. Ever so busy, our guardian angels made sure that we were all safe and that the only damage was a little smoke damage on the ceiling. We need nothing more than a fresh coat of paint.
While my children and I were huddled outside under a thin blanket, neighbors came over with armloads of blankets. We told them, "don't come near us! We have COVID!" Ever the good Christian, one of our neighbors brushed our sentiment aside and bent over to wrap us in warm blankets. (Thank God it was the last day of isolation and our chance of spreading the illness was very slim.) My neighbor trusted that it would be okay to share her blankets with us. She wrapped us in love. She participated in the miracle of keeping us warm while we waited for the firemen to get the smoke out of our house and make it safe for re-entry.
Isn't this what the Advent season is about? It is about sharing, trusting and caring. We busy ourselves trying to find the perfect gifts. We shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We donate on Giving Tuesday. In all of the business, let us not forget to share something else- our time. All that God wants from us is our hearts and our time. Be sure to carve out a few minutes a day reading Sacred Scripture. Remember to pray throughout your day. Trust in God and share your time.
"And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for which such sacrifices God is pleased."
- Hebrews 13:16 (NASB)