A little over a week ago we heard the story in the Gospels about the multitude being fed by Jesus and his disciples starting with just a few loaves and fishes. It is a story of a miracle that is found in all four Gospel narratives and like all Gospel stories it is meant to teach us a lesson.
As I attended liturgy that weekend I was privileged to hear a very provocative homily from our Parish Life Director (one of the best homilists I know!). She began by pointing out some very interesting statistics which I would like to share with you.
In the United States EVERY DAY we consume 75 acres of pizza, 53 million hot dogs, 167 million eggs, three million gallons of ice cream and 3,000 tons of candy. EVERY DAY!! Another statistic: five billion people in the world try to make it on just 20% of the world's goods while one billion consume 80% of the world's goods. Pretty disproportionate wouldn't you say?
In addition, seven million children in the world die from starvation every year; even in the United States there are 3.8 million families who experience hunger daily (and it isn't getting any better with the economy in the state it is in).
Jesus had compassion for the several thousand men, women and children who gathered to hear his message that day. He told his disciples to feed them. He tells us the same thing today. I believe that Americans and American Catholics are quite generous when it comes to alleviating the suffering that we hear about or see on television throughout the world (such as is currently the case in Somalia). We need to continue to show that generosity when we who have so much given to us by our God come forward to share what we have with those in need.
We all have many obligations to meet especially within our own families. But when we can, we need to be like the widow in the Gospel who gave all that she had to put something in the temple treasury and was blessed by Jesus for it. (Luke 21:1-4)
May God shower his compassion on those who are suffering for want of the world's goods and may God inspire us to continue to bring bread to the hungry wherever we find them.