Monday of the Eighteenth Week In Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them…When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”
Is your heart moved with pity? Recently, the Holy Father captured my attention when he made a comment regarding poverty in the world. He said:
“It is a well-known fact that current levels of production are sufficient, yet millions of people are still suffering and dying of starvation. This is truly scandalous.” (Pope Francis to participants in the 38th FAO Conference)
How true! How remarkably true! There should be no reason for starvation in the world today. God isn’t evil. We are. We literally produce enough food to feed the entire world and we allow people to starve to death.
We often hear of droughts and their devastating effect on crops. But the only devastating drought that exists on earth today is the one that causes deafness to our ears and dry spells in our hearts. There is no reason for anyone to die of starvation. To die this way can only be attributed to the greed of today.
They all ate and were satisfied. Why doesn’t the Lord do this for us today? Why doesn’t He take the bull by the horns and eliminate world poverty? The reason is simple: Because we can. We can do it. And the same is true of world wars. We can stop all wars. And it’s simple. All we have to do is live the Commandment the Lord gave: love your neighbor. That’s it. And if we stopped all wars, then we could turn all our weapons into plowshares, and all our military spending into medical research.
Imagine: A cure for cancer. Imagine: An end to starvation. Imagine: No more tears. All these things will happen, but they will take much longer than they ever had to.
I’m sure someone is thinking: “Well, then we will have problems with overpopulation.” Hardly! Like Mother Theresa once said: “To say there are too many children in the world is like saying there are too many flowers in the world.”
God bless her!
So what’s the problem? The problem is that most of us are not willing to share; or better yet, we are not willing to give up what we don’t need.
The Lord brought Heaven to earth; God to man; love to others. The Apostles gave up too quickly when they insisted the crowd go away. The Lord insisted they stay. The Apostles gave up too quickly when they realized they only had five loaves and two fish. The Lord insisted they do something about it; that they trust in Him. They did, and a miracle occurred.
Let’s do the same. Let’s trust in the Lord. Let’s trust in His Commandments. Let’s trust in our greatest possessions; the ones that are worth more than all other possessions: our faith, our hope and our love.
Faith is the virtue that allows us to see more than eye can see. Hope is the virtue that allows us to see beyond the moment. Love is the virtue that allows us to give more than we have.
The Lord provides. All we need to do is accept...and may the odds be ever in your favor.
P.S. A mom reminded me this morning of an event that happened at her daughter's High School. The event was organized by the school's Peer Ministers and it was called "The Hunger Banquet." The entire senior class was divided unequally into three groups and placed in a large room that was also divided unequally. One very small group represented the First World nations and they were given great food and a lot of space. The second group (larger in size) represented the Second World nations with good food and a bit less space. The Third World group (the largest group by far) was given scraps of food and a lot less space. A lesson one of the participants learned that day was that the Peer Ministers never told the First World kids that they could not share their food with the other worlds. She said it just never crossed their minds. Talk about entitlement! And they could see the other Worlds right there, in their sight, hungry, and they even knew many of them. They could have shared their food, their space, anything...but they didn't. Sad.
Now extrapolate that to the country level, and it's really sad.