This Week's Reflection

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 539: The Generosity of God: A Reflection on Mark 6: 41-44

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. (Mark 6: 41-44)

When God gives, he gives big. Abundantly. Overwhelmingly. He gives more than we need. Jesus gave everything he had to us, right down to his own life, right down to his own flesh and blood. But he didn’t wait until he died to give us the abundance of his grace. While he was still living, he gave us his word, now recorded in Scripture. He gave us his teachings to live by. He gave us his apostles, the priesthood. He gave us his mother, Mary. He gave us his bride, the Church. And he gave us miracles, like the one in Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

With the exception of raising Lazarus from the dead and Jesus’ own resurrection, this miracle is probably the most dramatic of all of Jesus’ miracles because there were so many witnesses. The Scriptures tell us there were 5000 men in that crowd. The evangelist didn’t even count women and children. So if we can figure one woman for every man and two children for every pair of adults, which is being generous because the Jewish families of this time were generally much bigger, this estimates about 20,000 people in that crowd. And they all got fed.

They all got fed with an abundance left over. Twelve wicker baskets. Have you ever had a Thanksgiving dinner where there were so many leftovers you ate turkey and stuffing dinners every night for a week? That’s what was left over!

At the wedding of Cana, where Jesus changed water into wine, because the wine was running out, he made approximately 150 gallons of wine! There was so much wine, they were probably drinking it for a month!

When God gives, he gives big!

Now if anyone is thinking, “Well, that’s just not true, Father, because I asked for something once and I never got it. My response to that is, “What were you asking for?”

Were you asking for something to glorify yourself? Or were you asking for something to glorify God?

My second response is, “How did you ask for it?” Jesus is a gentleman. He forces himself on no one.

When I was in my first year of seminary, I was having a particularly difficult time in one of my classes. But instead of studying for the mid-term, I said, “Well, I am going to put my trust in God. I am going to step out in faith. I am going to use this time to pray in the chapel. Then I’m going to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.” And you know what happened? I flunked. I flunked so bad that I had to take the exam over again!

Trusting God does not justify laziness. The Lord waits for us to take a step of faith toward him. We’re not just supposed to be active pray-ers. We’re not just supposed to sit in the pew once a week. We have to be actively seeking the Lord, every day, all of our lives. We have to be actively seeking what we can do to build the Kingdom of the Lord. And blessed be God forever! – Father Michael Anthony Sisco

Quote from a Saint: “If you are discouraged, it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers.”—Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Prayer: The Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, yours is the praise, the glory and the honor and every blessing. To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no one is worthy to speak your name.

Praised be you, my Lord with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day through whom you bring us light. And he is lovely, shining with great splendor, for he heralds you, Most High.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars. In heaven you have formed them, lightsome and precious and fair.

And praised be you, my Lord, through Brother Wind, through air and cloud, through calm and every weather by which you sustain your creatures.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Water, so very useful and humble, precious and chaste.

Praised be you, my Lord through Brother Fire, by whom you light up the night, and he is handsome and merry, robust and strong.

Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains us and directs us bringing forth all kinds of fruits and colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be you, my Lord through those who forgive for your love and who bear sickness and trial. Blessed are those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death from whom no living being can escape. How dreadful for those who die in mortal sin! How blessed are those she finds in your most holy will for the second death can do them no harm.

O praise and bless my Lord, thank him and serve him with great humility!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Saint Francis wrote a Canticle to Praise God for His abundant, generous gifts. What other “big gifts” has God given us?

  2. Discuss the quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta.

  3. Have you ever had the experience of trusting in God and praying and not having your prayers answered the way you want? What did you learn from this experience?

  4. Father Sisco gave the example of taking an exam without studying for it. Have you ever asked for something without thinking what you could do to advance the Kingdom of God through that request?

  5. Do you think of asking God to advance His Kingdom when you pray for something? If you do think about this, how should your prayer be stated?

  6. What do you think is the most amazing miracle of Jesus? Why?

  7. Father Sisco mentions the loaves and the fishes, Jesus Resurrection and raising Lazarus from the dead as dramatic miracles where God gave abundantly. What other miracles of Jesus would fall under the amazing dramatic miracle category?

  8. Have you ever experienced an amazing miracle of God’s grace? What was it? How did you respond? Are you still seeing fruit of this in your life?

  9. What should be our response if God does not answer our prayers as we wish?

--Madeline Pecora Nugent, CFP