Today’s Gospel reading is a familiar one. The crowds continue to follow Jesus, and he is concerned about feeding them. The disciples do not have enough food or money to provide for the crowds. A boy provides the start of the meal that will feed the multitudes—five loaves and two fish. From a humble offering all are provided for.
Reflection for Parents
Think about the opportunities you have had in recent weeks to respond generously to the needs of others. Perhaps a coworker was having a rough day and an invitation to lunch was the generous response that fed his or her spirit. Perhaps a parishioner is facing huge medical bills and a special collection offered your family an opportunity to support him or her in this difficult time. Perhaps the parish food pantry was low on peanut butter and cereal, and you invited your children to come with you to fill a grocery cart and to deliver the much-needed food. In all of these acts of generosity you are showing your children how to be like the boy in today’s Gospel—how to pay attention to others’ needs, how to respond to those needs, and what happens when you do respond to those needs.
Bringing the Good News Into Your Family
Look together at your parish bulletin for opportunities to respond generously to the needs of others. Choose an opportunity that is appropriate for your entire family to take part in. Make an action plan and follow through on your plan.
- One time I was like the boy in the Gospel was when . . .
- A need I have seen in recent days is . . .
- Something I can do to help meet that need is . . .
Parents may sympathize with the disciples’ protests when Jesus asks Philip where food might be found for the crowd. In the responses of both Philip and Andrew, we hear feelings of inadequacy as they survey their limited resources in the face of such great need. We may sometimes share these feelings about our own material possessions or our emotional and spiritual resources in the face of our family’s needs. This is a Gospel of hope for these times, which are all too frequent in parenting and family life. As Jesus made the five barley loaves and two fish sufficient to more than meet the needs of over five thousand people, Jesus will also work with what we have to provide for our family’s needs. When we offer our efforts to God, we ask him to transform them so that they will be more than adequate to the tasks and needs before us.
As you gather as a family, talk together about the things that your family needs, starting with the basics—food, shelter, safety, and so on. Continue by naming other things that a family needs to be happy and healthy—time together, cooperation, patience, and so on. Observe that sometimes we can feel like we don’t have enough of the things that we need or want. Read together today’s Gospel, John 6:1-15. Talk about how Jesus provided plenty of food for the crowd with just five barley loaves and two fish. We have faith that Jesus will also take what we have and make it enough to satisfy and fill all our needs. We ask for this blessing when we offer to God the work of each day in prayer in the Morning Offering. Pray together the Morning Offering, asking God to bless and make fruitful the work of each of our days.
[from Loyola Press Sunday Connection]