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Feed Them Yourselves

August 2, 2020
Capuchin Retreat
A person holding a loaf of freshly-baked bread

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.

In the Gospel for the 18th Sunday, Series A, Jesus feeds thousands of people. But before doing that he also says “Give them some food yourselves.” (See Matthew 14:13-21) We could focus on the miraculous multiplication of food and be amazed at the story. But, as always, we are invited to look and look again at the words and their further meaning.

I have always found these words very challenging. “You give them some food.” Jesus is talking to you and me. How to respond? We cannot work miracles of multiplication. The challenge could be indeed to actually feed people through food banks, soup kitchens, supporting local charities or supporting organizations like Bread for the World.

But giving people “some food” may be taken symbolically. We can help and nourish people through our acts of kindness. We can offer a compassionate listening ear. We can spend time with the sick and the shut-ins — at least when we are allowed to.

We can “give food” to various organizations by volunteering our time. There can be all sorts of random acts of kindness along the way, including a simple smile or word of thanks.

Jesus invites us: “Give them some food yourselves.” What shall we do?

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