Not Much, But Be More
01 August 2022, Monday of the 18th Week in the Ordinary Time
Memorial of St Alphonsus de Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Mt 14: 13-21
How do we see scarcity? Is it an opportunity or a problem? Today’s Gospel, the multiplication of five loaves and two fish, teaches us that to give hope is not just to be optimistic, that everything will turn out to be ok because our activities are emotionally charged with huhuhus and spectacularly fun-filled with all hahahas. It is a story of hope, a hope that makes us courageous, not only to face our problems, but to be part of the solution with whatever problems that we face.
How can we be courageous enough to be part of the solution most especially if there is scarcity in almost of everything in everyone. It seems that COVID 19 pandemic is about to end but here comes the threat of monkey pox. Our schools are challenged to go full face-to-face in the coming months but our educators feel insufficient for their presence is compromised by modern communications technology. Calamities, both natural and man-made, are threats to security and to our economy. Worse is the problem on corruption. We know that it is evil but it seems that we are giving up our cause to fight against such evil system. Mahatma Gandhi said, “There is enough on Earth for everybody’s need but not for everyone’s greed.”
In the Gospel, after the disciples did the SWOT, they recommended to Jesus, “Send the crowds away. We have nothing except five loaves and two fish.” But Jesus saw something more and so He said, “Bring them here to me.” It is not about what we give from what we have but it is more about what we can do with what we only have. If that miracle happened, Jesus’ prayer that has the Eucharistic elements of taking, blessing, breaking and giving, led the hungry crowd to take, to bless, to break and to give. Yes, a miracle took place and it happened in the hearts of all those who were moved by the spirit of generosity in the midst of scarcity.
Today’s gospel reminds me one Good Night Talk of Fr Fidel Orendain, SDB, when I was an aspirant. He explained why we have Mr Joey Velasco’s bas-relief sculpture of the Multiplication of Five Loaves and Two Fish in our refectory. Fr Fidel pointed us to the Ven. Fulton Sheen who said that the miracle reminded him on how Don Bosco was instrumental in turning many poor boys in Valdocco into good Christians and honest citizens. From those little efforts that he did, Don Bosco, being a contemplative in action, acknowledged that he and his boys never had much, but in God, they had more.
Why we be more even if we do not have much? St Alphonsus de Liguori whose memorial we celebrate in today’s liturgy reminds that in God there is plenteous of redemption. The motto of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer which St de Liguori founded is taken from Psalm 129:7 that states, “Copiosa apud eum redemptio”, “With God there is plentiful redemption”. We can be overwhelmed by a lot of concerns. But if we turn to God and open ourselves to be His cooperators of the work of redemption, though we do not have much but we can be more. If God is the very WHY of our dreams and desires, we can have the HOWs to meaningfully and productively approach to life’s complexities. It is not enough to be good and to feel good; we can be more if we do good. Amen.
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