As Christians we are called to be disciples of Jesus, to learn his teachings and follow his ways. We are also called to be apostles in that we are to go out, proclaim and share who he is to others, that he is who he said he is. Often when we are reminded of this message though, we may feel inadequate, question what it is that we can even possibly offer in an effort to help build the kingdom of God. We may feel we have nothing to share, nothing to give, nothing to say, or that what the Lord asks of us, we do not know how to accomplish.
The disciples express similar feelings today for the latter point. As the thousands who had just listened to him for three days are readying to depart, Jesus shows concern that they are hungry and some may collapse on their way home. The disciples look about bewildered as to how they could possibly feed the vast crowd. Then Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have” (Mk 8:5)? They responded that they had seven loaves and two fish. Jesus would go on to feed, not only the whole multitude gathered, but when all ate their fill, seven baskets of bread fragments were left over.
We indeed may not know how to take active steps to live our faith, we may not be aware of how to begin, or we may have actually been engaged in service, in our vocation, but start to coast, and need to continue to strive to mature as a disciple and apostle. Each day, a supportive way to start is to place ourselves in the presence of Jesus. If we have trouble visualizing him, we can look at a statue we may have, a picture, or an icon. Then take some deep breaths and meditate on our present life condition, and assess where there is need in our own life as well as those of others, so to be aware, as Jesus was, of those in need. Once we are able to identify a concern, listen to Jesus, “What do you have, what can you offer?”
You may not have an immediate answer. Stay with the question for a period of time, take it with you through the day if need be. Resist looking for the big response, the grand plan. Ask yourself what you can offer no matter how small. What you give to Jesus in service and participation with him, he can multiply and bring about amazing results. The disciples only gave him seven loaves and two fish, what seemed insignificant to feed the thousands, and yet, Jesus multiplied the meager amount to feed all present with seven baskets left over. Jesus provides, Jesus works through us. Let us trust and participate with him to spread the glory of his kingdom.
Photo: Statue of Jesus in the Chapel of St Anthony at St Thomas University, Miami Gardens, FL
Link for the Mass readings for Saturday, February 16, 2019: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021619.cfm