17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Simham)
YOU CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
I remember the story of a king who wanted to appoint a new Prime Minister. There were many applicants for the job from whom three were recruited. But only one is needed for the post. And the king wanted to give them a test. Next day he summoned them to the big bronze gate in the palace and showed them the big lock which was as big as a pumpkin. He said “This is the test for you. We don‘t have the key for it. But whoever opens the lock will be considered eligible for the post.” Looking at the big bronze lock one said ‘it is impossible to break this big bronze Buffalo. So I am leaving.’ Second one was a mathematician-like. He took out his calculator and started to calculate the length and breadth and possible force needed and so on. But the third one just went up to the lock and pulled it and to everyone’s surprise it just opened because it was actually kept unlocked.
Now, it’s a simple story but it has got so much to say about problem solving. Look at the gospel today. There is a problem to be solved. A great multitude of people come to Jesus and they need to be fed. It is a lonely and deserted place. No shops or supermarket to buy food; yet they have to be fed. Look at the different reactions to the problem there. Some say as it reported in Marks gospel “send them away so that they can go to the villages and get some food.” That means, let us escape from the problem, let them go and solve their own problem. Like the first one in the story. And then there is Philip who takes out his calculator and calculates and says “Two hundred Denarii, which is a good sum of money those days, would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.”(Second character in the story) But Jesus says, “No need to calculate. Let us do something. Let us try to pull the lock. Solve the problem. What do you have with you?” Andrew says “here is a boy with five loaves and two fish.” That is enough. A great miracle happens. Five thousand are fed and twelve baskets full remain are collected. People were reminded how of God fed their ancestors in the desert. (The third character in the story)
Now, closely analyse the miracle itself and tell me, what was it that made this miracle possible apart from the great compassionate heart of Jesus? It was the generosity of the little boy who had five loaves and two fish. I am sure that he had more than enough with him. Therefore he can afford to give little. But what about his tomorrow? Who will feed him tomorrow if he gives away everything today? Is it not a great for worry for us; our tomorrow? But this little boy was not worried about his tomorrow, because he was placing his tomorrow; symbolised in five loaves and two fish, his savings; he is depositing them in the hands of the Lord. What better place you can find than this? Remember, he is not depositing it in Lehman’s or not in real estates, not in fixed bonds and banks, but in the hands of the Lord. It is this little faith made this great miracle possible. So for me this miracle is nothing but the little generosity of the boy turning into a great bounty where every one has sufficient to eat and much more is left over. It’s a miracle of generosity. If and only if the world can take a leaf out of this boys generosity and learn to deposit their future and wealth in poor and needy, I am sure that the whole world will have plenty to eat and much more will still left over.
Often we say what I can do? What difference I can make as an individual? The problem is so enormous? And my reserve is little or nothing; what difference I can make? Believe me your generosity can make a real difference. If the little boy were to think what my five loaves and two fish can do for the five thousand, then it would have been a different situation there. But his little contribution made a world of difference. In the same way your generosity too can make a world of difference in your community. It is the little drops of rain that make the mighty ocean. Your little efforts will make a difference. In fact sharing is part our Christian ethos. So, let us sharers, not misers. Amen
Fr. Showreelu Simham