Saturday, July 25, 2015

Trust is the Key

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Colleen O’Sullivan

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God, twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits, and fresh grain in the ear. Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” But his servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.” “For thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the Lord had said. (2 Kings 4:42-44)

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.  (John 6:11-13)

The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season; you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15-16)

Our Scripture readings today speak of God’s love and generosity. God never lets us down. God takes care of us. God is present wherever we are. And the readings speak of our trust or lack of trust in our God as well.
In the first reading, there is a famine in the land. Miraculously, God provides the ingredients for twenty loaves of barley bread. In the Gospel reading, the crowds walk many miles in their eagerness to see Jesus. They are hungry and tired. Jesus has compassion upon them and proceeds to feed them.
So, everything’s as it should be, right? Wrong. Because sometimes we find it difficult to trust in God’s ability or desire to take care of us. Elisha’s servant doesn’t exclaim over the barley loaves; he says there aren’t enough of them to feed 100 people. Philip tells Jesus he can’t possibly feed the crowd; it would cost a fortune that they don’t have. Andrew mentions that someone has a few loaves and fish, but they’ll never do for the number of people gathered.
It’s an age-old problem. God tries to lead us to the Promised Land, and, in the wilderness along the way, we stamp our feet and whine that we’d rather go back to being slaves in Egypt. God wants to forgive our sins, but sometimes we’re so ashamed that we never get around to believing we’ll be met with mercy, not condemnation. God wants to be our constant companion and best friend, but we find it difficult to trust that God is in all the nitty-gritty of our lives.
God hopes we will be his partners in meeting the needs of the world. Maybe we think the little bit we can do will make no difference, but re-read these Scripture readings. God takes your little bit and my little bit and miraculously makes it enough. We simply need to trust God on that.

Take some time today to reflect on your personal salvation history. Consider all the times you have experienced God’s love and salvation throughout your life. I think you will find more than ample reason to trust that God is generous and caring.

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