In his reflection on last Sunday’s gospel reading, Pope Francis dwelled on the moment when at sundown, the disciples invited Jesus to send the crowd away so that they could go and find something to eat. Jesus answered: “You give them something to eat”. The disciples obviously couldn’t imagine how they could feed that enormous crowd.
Focusing less on the actual miracle, and more on the attitude Jesus requires from his disciples, the Pope explains that this was Jesus’ way to educate them and us in God’s logic. ‘The logic of taking responsibility for others. The logic of not washing one’s hands, the logic of not looking the other way.’ Adding that the phrase ‘“let them fend for themselves” should not enter into the Christian vocabulary.’
These words made me reflect on a situation which us Maltese experience regularly, especially during the summer months when the migrant crossings in the Mediterranean surge. The easiest and practical way for us would be to consider this as not our problem. These people–we are keen to rationalise–have taken a journey out of their own choice and we a small over crowded island have nothing to offer. We can pray for them for the good Lord to guide them to the place where they can be safe. Sometimes we also conclude that offering some safety for them, will endanger us all.
And yet Jesus turns back to us and tells us “You give them something to eat”. On a practical level this looks as an impossible task. However Jesus shows us that when we make our little part, no matter how small, divine providence makes the rest.
As Christians, do we have a strong enough faith to believe that by giving up our few loaves, which nevertheless are our only sustenance, we will be able not only to help ourselves, but others too? I confess that I myself find it hard at times, but the gospel challenges us everyday to confirm our faith not in words but in actions.