Fr. Michael Denk
July 26, 2009
Year B, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
I got to spend part of my vacation with a family in Apple Valley where we went boating and water skiing and just had a great time together. When we gathered to eat dinner they insisted that I go first, so I politely went down the line taking a few of the green beans, cheesy potatoes, and a hot dog. Being in the water always makes me hungry so I wanted to keep scooping stuff on my plate but I was afraid it would run out. Now, just so you know, I come from a family of six kids, so this was extremely difficult for me. First of all I never got to go first, and second whenever you got the plate in my family you took as much as you could because if you didn’t you weren’t sure if you were going to get any later. I realized in that moment how worried I was about getting enough to eat. As a priest I should never have to worry about getting enough to eat. People feed me everywhere I go.
Often times we worry about not getting enough. In our country we are worried about not getting a raise this year, not getting enough health care for our family, or how were going to pay for the healthcare plan, or if were going to get any of the stimulus money, or if we’re even going to have a job tomorrow. We want someone to perform a miracle. We put our hope in congress, we complain about our President not doing what he hoped he would do. We want someone to get us out of this mess. And so often we get so focused on the problem that we fail to look up. We fail to look up and put our hope in our God… our God who can do so much with so little.
In today’s gospel Jesus performs this miracle – a large crowd comes to him. They have no food, they’ve sought him out all day and they are hungry. So Jesus says to Phillip: “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him,because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him,“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enoughfor each of them to have a little.” One of his disciples,Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
That’s his response? Have the people recline? Well what happens when we recline? When we lay back we automatically look up. He got them to look up! And guess what? They don’t have to be polite, they don’t have to take a little, they can eat as much as they want, and there is left over! When did the miracle happen? When they looked up. Look up.
God will provide for us, God will open a new door for you that are out of a job, God will take care of you and your children. But you have to look up.
We need to look up, above all when we are downcast, look up. The people reclined and they were fed. They had as much as they wanted and there was even some left over.
If we but raise our eyes God will work miracles – if we look up and pray not only in our churches, but in our work place, in our homes, at our sporting events (I’m sure many of you pray for the Indians), in our cars, on vacation, when were working at our computers, or going through our bills, or filling up our gas tanks, or in the check out line and the price is way more then we thought, or when we read the paper and get discouraged by the news, or in our rooms at night. Look up and God will work miracles. God will feed you, there will be enough.
He can do so much with so little and it’s all just a matter looking up.