Homily – July 29, 2018

Today’s gospel tells of Jesus taking five barley loaves and two fish and feeding five thousand people. An echo of God feeding the Israelites in the desert and a preamble for Christ’s gift of himself as the Bread of Life. There are those who doubt the validity of this miracle. But if Jesus gave a blind man sight, made a leper clean, a cripple walk and dead young man life, why would we doubt today’s gospel’s miracle?

There is another way of looking at today’s miracle that can also cause us to wonder at the power of Jesus to change lives.

Everything Jesus said or did was meant to invite people to grow, to move just one step, even a baby step beyond where they are into a deeper relationship with God.

The people who followed Jesus that day were not dumb. They probably all brought something with them to eat. Remember the Sister’s habit s of yesteryear? They had so many pockets and anything they needed was in one of those pockets. The young man in the gospel had five barley loaves and two fish in his pocket. In taking this boy’s stash and offering it to those around him Jesus challenged them all to do the same. In following his example of generosity, his willingness to share the little he had with others, Jesus challenged the people to share their staches with those around them and their lives were better for it. He invited them in to imitate the generosity of God their father constantly shows toward them. Jesus challenged them to share, to care for other people.

I heard that this interpretation of today’s gospel as reducing this miracle to a ‘potluck supper’. But isn’t that what a potluck supper is all about, sharing what you bring to it with others?

The news reports we see every day make us wonder what is happening to human kind, the tragedies on Yonge Street and the Danforth. The hatred and brutality of people toward those different than themselves is beyond belief. The mean-spiritedness of some political leaders is depressing. It is the little people, the women and children caught in the middle of power struggles who suffer the most. We look; we wonder and maybe even despair. What can we do? Realistically we can’t do anything to change things in Gaza or Syria or Yemen or the conflicts going on in Africa.

What can we do? How can we make the world a better place? There is a principle in law that says, ‘The law works from the feet up’. Wherever you are that’s the law you follow. Love, justice, fairness, kindness, concern, forgiveness, they all work from the feet up. We start with the person or persons who are in our face. A husband, wife, son, daughter, grandchildren, a lonely shut in relative of neighbour, people with whom you work, people you meet in an elevator or in the supermarket, at the checkout counter, people on the street.

They all challenge each one of us to share our stash of respect, love, understanding, support and forgiveness with them. The person in your face is a child of God, as you are. The person in your face is you brother or sister in Christ. The person in your face is a person for whom Christ died on the cross. How we treat them, speak to them, help them in anyway can make a difference in their lives and in ours.

There was a movie out a few years ago titled ‘The Ark’. The ark meant an act of random kindness. It could be as simple as holding a door open for someone or letting someone through in became concerned with those around them.

Jesus shares his life with us today as he invites – take and eat, take and drink – an act of random kindness. May his generosity traffic or complimenting someone on how good they look – it could be so many other little gestures of kindness or recognition – but they do make a difference, they do make the world a little more human.

The life of Jesus was filled with acts of random kindness as in today’s gospel he takes the little he has and shares it with others and that act sent ripples through the crowd and people

to us inspire and motivate us to bring light and love and healing into the lives of those who are in our face by our own acts of random kindness.