John 6:1-15 What Good Am I?
Jesus said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”
Many times in our lives we think our problems are just too big for us. This morning I celebrated Mass for all our Middle School kids at St. Monica. I made the conscientious decision to focus on one person in today’s Gospel passage: the child with the five barley loaves and two fish.
That’s all he had and that’s what most of us ever have: far too little to give. And yet, for the Lord, it was plenty. Why? Because he gave all he had.
Kids are used to getting their ideas (and gifts) shot down. But the Lord made it a point to highlight how important they are in the grand scheme of earthly things and in His heavenly Kingdom.
Once upon a time (a long time ago), I was assigned to a two-man road team to fund raise for our major seminary in Rome. I, along with another seminarian, drove throughout the American Midwest visiting hundreds of Catholic families and asking for thousands of dollars. Right away I should tell you how amazed I was of every family we visited and of their generosity towards the Church. Not only were they courteous and considerate, but they were extremely generous and prayerful. I went to evangelize them and they ended up evangelizing me!
Well, one evening, we parked our beautiful rented car in front of a home we were about to visit. The family’s six children were outside playing in their yard. As we were leaving the car the burglar alarm went off on it. The sound of the alarm took us by surprise because we didn’t even know we had a burglar alarm system in our car! For over thirty minutes, my partner and I tried everything to turn off the silly thing. We couldn’t do it! Finally, out of desperation and embarrassment, the father of the home thought of cutting the wires that went to the alarm box. But before we did it, one of the kids came up to me and asked me if we had prayed about it. I couldn’t believe it. I looked at this little boy as if he were out of his mind and told him, “No son. Unfortunately, I think this is going to take a miracle! But if you pray, maybe we will get one.” And so, this nine-year-old closed his eyes, folded his hands, and began to pray.
Immediately, the alarm went off. Don’t ask me how it happened. I have no idea other than the obvious.
As adults we continue to believe that our problems are far too big for us to handle. And you know what? We are right! But we are wrong in the way we handle our problems. We never seem to invoke the Lord or place our trust in Him. With me all things are possible. Without me, nothing is possible.
Over the years I have reflected a lot on my life. Today, I can confidently say that 90% of all my failures were due to the fact that I gave in too much and gave up too quickly.
Study after study, we know that men tend to overestimate their abilities and underestimate the dangers, and women tend to underestimate their abilities and overestimate the dangers. We can learn from each other, but who we should truly learn from is the Lord, who is continually underestimated all the time.
This may sound a little strange, but its fears and doubts, not in ourselves but in God, that often make us give in or give up too quickly.
Resolution: I will no longer have fears or doubts in the Lord but in a life without the Lord.