STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already late;
dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages
and buy food for themselves.”
He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over--
twelve wicker baskets full.
Those who ate were about five thousand men,
not counting women and children.
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
Have you ever walked into your kitchen, looked through the refrigerator, pantry, cabinets, and not been able to find “anything” to eat? There have been many times where I get home after a long day and complain that there is absolutely nothing to eat. In reality, there’s actually plenty to eat. Sure, a couple apples, some tortilla chips, and a bag of chocolate chips might be an interesting combination of foods (and probably not the healthiest either), but at least I know, I won’t go to bed hungry but satisfied.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear Matthew’s version of the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. In this story, Jesus demonstrates how he can do a whole lot with only a little. Sometimes, God gives us all the pieces and tools we need, like a few loaves and a couple fish, yet we don’t realize how they all fit together or maybe we think there is not enough. Often we think that we are not enough or not capable of doing great things. It can be hard for us to see how the Lord wants to use us, but he has given us all the tools and gifts we need. When we rely on him and ask for his help, we will be able to see clearly how the Lord wants to use us and how all the pieces fit together to form something beautiful.
What strikes me most about this story is not only does Jesus multiply the loaves and fish so that everyone has their fill, but there is still quite a bit left over. God does not just want us to survive. He wants us to thrive. That is why he gives us more than we need. In the same way, Christ did not just offer part of himself on the cross. He gives himself to us fully, and we receive him fully every time we receive the Eucharist.
At the end of the day, we will all be satisfied but often when we least expect it or not in the way that we expect. While food may take away our hunger and medicine may take away our pain, there is nothing that will satisfy like the love of God and the gift of His Body and Blood.
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
What are some of the tools and gifts the Lord has given me?
How does the Lord want to use me?
In what ways does the Lord satisfy my desires?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
“Lord, satisfy the hunger in my heart.”
“Jesus, you are the bread of life.”
“Lord, make me a vessel.”
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
Consider the ways that the Lord has already satisfied some of the desires of your heart, especially ways that you didn’t expect. Think about the gifts and tools which the Lord has given you and pray about how you can best use those gifts and tools to serve the Lord.
SMARTPHONE LOCK SCREEN
Today's prayer was prepared by Maggie Overbeck.