Rom 8:35, 37-39
If you have ever seriously cooked, you have come across the concept of developing a foundation of flavors. This is done by putting together small amounts of various ingredients, which together provide a deep, rich flavor for the dish you are preparing. The dish would most likely be fine if one of these ingredients was missing, but it wouldn’t be quite the same. The depth of flavor, the richness would be compromised. Take something as simple as an omelet. A lot of different things can be added, each changing the dish just a bit, each adding to the depth of the flavor, each giving the dish a richness it would otherwise lack. You could add onions to the omelet, giving the omelet a certain depth and richness. Without the onions it is still a fine omelet, but it is a better omelet with them.
Jesus went off in a futile attempt to be alone when he heard of the death of John the Baptizer. Crowds followed him, and stayed until it was late, too late for them to find food. The disciples of Jesus asked him to dismiss the crowds, send them off to find food. Jesus tells them to give them some food yourselves. I am sure they were a bit flabbergasted. Give them what food? All they had were five loaves of bread and two fish, barely enough to feed themselves. Jesus instructed them to bring him the loaves and the fish, and to have the crowd sit. Jesus blessed and broke the bread, then gave it to his disciples to distribute to the crowd. All ate and were satisfied, and there were twelve wicker baskets of food left over. Five loaves and two fish were more than enough to feed the crowd.
All of us, each one, has a gift that God has given us, a gift that we can share with the world, a gift that in some way makes the world a better place. Too often we are reluctant to share that gift, certain that we are inadequate, the gift is so small that it can’t matter. No one will notice if our gift is missing. The world will almost undoubtedly continue, with or without the contribution we can make. Yet like the onions in the omelet, it won’t be quite as good as it could have been. Our gift may seem to be small and inconsequential to us, but it is indispensable. Our gift adds to the depth and the richness of life, of the world. It doesn’t matter how small we think it is. It is enough to make a difference. How do I know? Jesus said give them some food yourselves. They gave him five loaves and two fish. He blessed them and gave them to the people, and there were twelve baskets of fragments left over.
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug. 3, 2008