By Fr. Al Naseman, C.PP.S.
The Boy Who Was Willing to Share His Lunch is the title of an attractive children’s Bible booklet. It features this boy in today’s Gospel. But we suspect something much bigger is going on here. The boy surely didn’t bring a personal lunch of five barley loaves and two whole fish. There is an invisible person in this story. The mother of her boy who is eager to tag along with Jesus and listen to his engaging storytelling encourages him and packs this big lunch to share with others who are joining the great crowd following Jesus.
An incident very similar is related about a man from Baal-Shalishah who is bringing twenty loaves of fresh barley bread for the man of God, Elisha, and his followers. He must have had a baker back home.
One of Elisha’s servants is quick to object to Elisha’s directive to distribute this to his followers. “How can I set this before a hundred people?” Obviously, there is not a bag per person. The bread must be broken and shared. In the Gospel, Philip declares “We can’t feed all these people. There is not enough money.” However, “Can-Do” Andrew, the first disciple to follow Jesus who then found his brother, Simon Peter (and then ever after is simply referred to as Simon Peter’s brother) finds the boy ready to share.
Such goodness and generosity are contagious. Soon others are sharing what they have. Today’s responsorial psalm says, “The hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs.”
Sandwiched between all the barley loaves is St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. It would be a matter of some regret to pass over it. He sets before us seven ones for our spiritual nourishment and pondering:
- One Body
- One Spirit
- One Hope
- One Lord
- One Faith
- One Baptism
- One God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
You may still be curious as to where Baal-Shalishah is. It must be very near here. As we look around at our Congregation, we see a crowd of heart-loving and very giving followers of Jesus in July of 2018.
“This is my body broken. This is my Blood poured out for you” — Jesus.
Fr. Al Naseman, C.PP.S., is
a preacher and retreat leader
who lives at St. Charles Center
in Carthagena, Ohio.