There is a photo going around on facebook. Perhaps you’ve seen it: at the top there is a family saying grace before dinner. The caption says, “Thanks, Jesus, for this food.” And at the bottom there is a photo of a Mexican farm worker out in the field, saying “De nada.” You’re welcome.
I don’t know any farm workers named Jesús, but I sure as heck know people who have been working up to 84 hours a week to put food on all of our tables. As we read again this week the story of the loaves and fishes that fed five thousand families, it’s a good moment to think about being co-creators with God. Our work, and the miracle of God’s creation: together, they feed the world.
Capo and I planted a garden in my back yard this Spring. He did about twenty times as much work as I did, and much neater, in the same amount of time. This past weekend we ate our first tomato. What a miracle it is, how one tiny seed becomes a plant, all that DNA doing its job of mapping out the directions to unfold a living creature, one molecule at a time; and fruit grows, and is ripened by the sun, and at last, we eat it. Actually, something else had already taken the first bite! – which is a reminder that all this miraculous growth isn’t just for us. We share this world with a myriad of living creatures, and we have a responsibility to take care of it and treat it well.
It is troubling to wonder if the drought we are experiencing now has been brought on, or at least made worse, by human activity.
A lot of Biblical commentators believe that the miracle of the loaves and fishes was that people were inspired to share what they already had. I like that explanation, because inspiring us to share what we have is a miracle we need. We don’t need God to do magic. The world is full of magic already. We ought to be walking around with our jaws dropped in wonder. There is enough for everyone, and if the story of the feeding of the five thousand tells us anything, it’s that God wants us to have what we need – wants everybody to have what we need. We need to share our resources, and be aware that the world is not just for us. Every life is precious. North American life… Mexican life… Central and South American life… Indian life… Asian life… African life… European life. Plant life and animal life and ocean life. Birds and butterflies and even those gol-darn bugs. We need each other.
The miracle we need – besides the miracle of rain – is the miracle of each of us realizing that the lives of people everywhere are as precious as our own. We are all connected, every living thing. May we have the gift of awe. May we be unafraid to share. May our hands be open, and may all be fed.
Love and light to all
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620