Cats, Loaves, and Fishes ~ The Rt. Rev. Michael Beckett, OPI

Our poor cats.   I starve them.  Or, according to THEM, I starve them.  Only one inch of food in their bowl?  Heaven forbid!!!  There must be at least two inches or Binx will howl, meow, and otherwise fuss until said bowl is at the proper cat food level.  And canned food?  It’s not like they get canned food every morning of their lives.  All four of them will peer at me shamelessly every morning until they each have their allotted portion of Ocean Whitefish, which seem to be the favorite of the moment.  So…Nope.  Scott and I are terrible providers for our critters.  Bless their furry little hearts.  Ha!  Funny, isn’t it, that no matter how much they have, even when they have enough, they want more.  

So….  What about us?  How much is enough?  The answer to that question is usually, “Just a little bit more.”  Or just, “More.”  And once we get that “More” we still want “just a little bit more.”  And when THAT happens, whilst we are well provided for, what do we frequently do?  We want more and look down on those who have not reached that “more” status.

This kinda presents a problem for those of us who profess to love Jesus.  In the Gospel appointed for today, we hear of Jesus feeing the 5000.  We know now that there were many more than 5000, coz the Bible tells us there were about 5000 MEN.  There had to be women and children there as well.   That’s a heap of folks to feed with 5 loaves and two fish.  The story of Jesus feeding the 5000 is one that’s puzzled sceptics and believers too. Sceptics dismiss the miracle story or explain it away. Perhaps what ‘really’ happened, they say, is that many people had brought food with them to the event and realized that others hadn’t – so the ‘real’ miracle was the miracle of sharing.  Personally, what do I think?  I really think I’m not smart enough to explain the ”hows” of Jesus’s miracles, and I’m smart enough to believe that Jesus accomplished what He set out to do. 

However….. (Isn’t there always a “however” when I write stuff like this???)  However, what we CAN take away from this is Jesus fed folks.   It has been said and written over and over and over again, that Jesus will give us what we need.  And I believe this with all my heart.  And again, in this day and age Jesus will accomplish what He sets out to do.  Now, the trick is, just how does Jesus accomplish this taking care of needs and things when He isn’t right on hand to pass out the goods?  Uh oh. 

Jesus also said, “So send I you.”  In Matthew 25 we read: 

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

So……  Jesus isn’t here walking on this earth in da flesh any more….  And it would seem that with the “So send I you” thing He has goin’ on….  Well, looks like it’s up to us to be feeding the hungry, and clothing those who are in need.  It’s up to us to continue the Lord’s work here.  Once again, I will say, sometimes you are the only Jesus some folks will ever see.  You are the only Bible some folks will ever read. 

So many times we hear folks talking about the homeless.  Sure, I’ll grant you that many of them are homeless due to addiction to one thing or another, or could do something about their situation, or could reach out for help, or….  or…..  or……..   But I don’t know these people as individuals, I don’t know their stories, and who am I to judge?   My Daddy….oh how I miss him…  Daddy was always giving out a five here or a buck there to those who were “less fortunate” than he and Momma.  Many years ago, someone once said to him, “Bill, you know they are just gonna buy alcohol or drugs with that money.”  Daddy’s reply???  He said, “Well, ya know, that says more about them than it does me.  Jesus told me to give,  not to tell folks what to do with what I give them.”  That stuck with me.

No, we can’t provide for everyone we meet.  But we can donate to a homeless charity or a program that feeds the less fortunate.  We can volunteer at one of those organizations.  We can do a lot of things to alleviate the problems these folks face. 

The question isn’t “should we?”  it’s will we?   

So y’all, there ya have it.  My thoughts on one of Jesus’s great miracles.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have cats to feed.