Today Jesus gives the twelve disciples one of the bluntest commands in all the gospels: “Give them some food yourselves.”
At this point, the disciples have already seen Jesus healing the physically and spiritually infirm. They must have been aware of his power over creation, which does make their recommendation to dismiss the crowd of five thousand elsewhere to find food and lodging seem half-hearted and hollow.
Jesus could have performed the miracle without the involvement of his chosen ones, but instead, he challenges them to act with what they have. Understandably, it seems inadequate in their eyes: “Five loaves and two fishes are all we have.” What could they do with that? As it turns out, everything they would need to do.
The story reminds us that our Lord desires our participation in creating the kingdom of heaven here on earth, no matter how limited we think we are. We may become anxious about the meagerness of our resources to help the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the sick, but, luckily, it’s not up to us alone. Beside each of us walks the one who transformed a few morsels into a meal for five thousand, with twelve baskets of food left over.
Jesus, let us trust in you to make plenty out of little while remembering your challenge to us: to answer your call with whatever offering we possess.