Last Sunday’s Gospel presented Jesus feeding more than 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. The crowd must have frightened the disciples. They were worried about the lack of food. They could have a catastrophe on their hands with hungry people who could become desperate. 

Jesus’ response was a simple one, “Give them some food yourselves.” They were inadequate to the task and could do very little on their own. However, when they turned over what little they had to the Lord, great things happened – a miracle occurred.

The 5,000-plus were fed, and there were 12 wicker baskets of food left over. It’s a lesson for all of us that no one can ever outdo God’s generosity. When we truly turn over what little we have to God, he will multiply those gifts in ways we could never have imagined.

We live in a world that seems to be spinning out of control. We helplessly watch international events in Russia and the Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. Catholic faithful and various Christian believers are being persecuted and martyred in Africa and in the Middle East for professing their belief in Jesus Christ. 

Nationally, we are confronted with a crisis on our borders with more than 70,000 children fleeing their native countries; we experience violence in our own cities and a growing distrust of government’s ability to make a difference.

Like the disciples, we feel helpless in the face of such vast problems. What can we do since we possess so little? We can turn over what little we possess to Jesus so that he can multiply our gifts. We can inform ourselves about what’s happening in the world. We can donate to Catholic Relief Services internationally and Catholic Charities locally/nationally. We can make our voices heard by notifying our elected officials with a simple letter or a phone call. 

You’d be surprised what a difference this can make in shaping the minds of elected officials. Of course, as persons of faith, we can pray, seeing God’s hand in everything we do and trusting in God and knowing that miracles can — and do — happen. 

Just as Jesus looked with compassion on the crowds that gathered to be with him, so, too, do we look with love and compassion on our suffering brothers and sisters. We do it because Jesus challenges us to give of ourselves and to love one another.