Leap of Faith

Yesterday, the Gospel reading was Luke 9:11-17, the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. As was rightly pointed out to all in the church, we knew this passage so well, we could probably recite it from memory.

While listening to the homily, I kept going back in my mind to something Jesus said.

On the hillside that early evening, the disciples hearts were with the mass of people who spent the day listening to Jesus. They were concerned that night was falling, and these thousands would need food and shelter.

In response to their concern, Jesus said, “Give them some food yourselves.”

That sounds kind of harsh, doesn’t it? Like what a ten year old would tell his little brother to make him go away. But Jesus is not harsh, I thought to myself. He is love, so that can’t be what is happening here.

Jesus didn’t say, “I think you should feed them” or “Maybe you could feed them.” He was giving a command. He knows all about the small amount of food they had. I think Jesus was saying “Take what you have and work with that. I’ll make sure it’s enough to do the job.”  This was a moment filled with potential. It was an opportunity to step up in holiness.

Will they trust Jesus? Will they make that leap of faith? If they do, they will experience the certainty that Jesus wouldn’t let them or the crowds down. Everyone would be fed.

We all know what the response was. Come on now. There’s barely enough for a family of four here!

The opportunity to take that leap of faith vaporizes in the heat of doubt. So Jesus steps in. After the disciples instruct the crowds he, in front of all, breaks and blesses the bread. “All ate and were satisfied.”

So what does it all mean in the present day? I see it like this. Everyone has a few fish and some bread, but we call them gifts and talents. It appears impossible that these will help very many people. Well, that's true. Alone, they can't.  But I have to step out with the hope that the Spirit will take over. This love of God will make the small gifts become something much better. I'll pitch the ball, hoping that Jesus will knock it out of the park.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:1-2

We all have doubt, but are encouraged to hope. St. Paul says that our hope won't let us down. I think Jesus wants us all to get out there with what we have. He will take over if I get too afraid, but I have to work on making those first steps. 

So, out the door into the day, a bag of bread and fish over my shoulder. And hope in my heart.