Cindy McMackin Helffrich ‘11
When I was little, my mom let me help wash the dishes. This was a task she probably could have finished in half the time it took us to do it together. She let me help, though, because she and my dad knew it was important that their children learn how to do things like wash dishes, vacuum, and mow the lawn. Through their lessons, my siblings and I learned skills to help us survive once we left home. As an added bonus we also learned that our parents love, trust, and value us.
In this Gospel, Jesus is doing the same thing. I have read or heard this passage more times than I can count, and had always assumed the miracle was simply another proof of God’s almighty power. After praying with it and visiting my family, though, I can now see that maybe this is also a story of how much God loves us. Jesus did not have to feed the entire crowd. He did not have to discuss the problem with Philip, nor did he need to use the boy’s loaves and fishes. Jesus did these things to show the crowd, Philip, and the boy how much they were loved, trusted, and valued.
Though we were not a part of the miraculous event described in this Gospel, Jesus still invites us to participate in God’s plan to feed people with his love—he reaches out to involve us in his work to build God’s kingdom as a sign of how much he loves, trusts, and values us.