Homily by Rev. Fr. Sigmund de Guzman, SJ

Friday of the Second Week of Easter

He multiplied five loaves.

Almost a century ago, two men were on a train in France. The older man was reading the Bible story of the multiplication of the loaves. Noticing this, the younger man said, “Pardon me, sir, but do you really believe what you’re reading?”

“Yes,” said the older man, “don’t you believe it?”

“No,” said the younger man. “I’m a scientist, and that story goes against all scientific laws.”

At this point the train slowed down.

“This is my station,” said the young man.

“Nice talking to you, Mr….”  the young man asked,

“Pasteur,” said the older man, “Louis Pasteur.”

He was one of the world’s greatest scientists.

How do we handle faith questions when they seem to conflict with science? In this pandemic-stained Easter Season – where many are dying not rising – yes, we need a lot of science – but – we also need a lot of faith as well – even as we know not – how our prayer works.  How do we keep our life of faith healthy in these uncertain times? How can we find God in our world that is upside down and downside up? – – Faith in God means looking beyond what we can see – to what God sees.

Because on our own, we grapple with many questions, doubts, uncertainties, and emotions. Five barley loaves and two fish – in the mind of Philip – how is that possible to feed thousands? – – and – like Philip, we also wonder – How we can feed the growing thousands experiencing financial anxiety today? or How can this Oratio Imperata on Covid 19 stop this pandemic? or What good can praying in our homes do for the situation today? –  Do you really believe – that with our five barley loaves and two fish – we can feed the thousands? – That with our prayers, things will be better? – – We need to put – – in the hands of God – what little faith is left in us – and beg Him to strengthen it – so that we can multiply the many good things we know we can do these days – so that we can see beyond our anxieties and doubts. – – – We have to keep our faith in God to guide us forward to the way that is not clear. We have to keep our eyes on God so that our fears and anxieties will be behind us. — God is still with us. – – – God is not yet done blessing us. And when we focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that we are always blessed in abundance. – – With him, we can do more,  for He is forever faithful.

Jesus feeds five thousand.

In 1982, St. Pope John Paul II addressed the youth of Scotland.

One of the passages of Scripture that the Holy Father talked about with the young people was today’s reading. He pointed out how Andrew, Scotland’s patron, was conscious of the inadequate amount of food for feeding the crowd.

But Andrew put what he had in the hands of Jesus. Jesus blessed it and fed the 5,000 with it. Then the Holy Father said to the young people: It is exactly the same with your lives . . . you feel conscious of your inadequacy . . . but what I say to you is this: Place your lives in the hands of Jesus. He will accept you and bless you . . . beyond your greatest expectations.”

Likewise, during these days, if we all put in – what we can possibly put– like our compassion, our patience, our perseverance, our obedience, our faith – even our material resources –  then we can multiply a lot of good things that will certainly keep us above this pandemic. Our five barley loaves and two fish can feed thousands – for no gift is small when blessed by God.

And instead of multiplying our complains and rantings – try, just try to ask your selves in your prayer: How much of everything I hold dear am I ready to be shattered by what we call now the ‘new normal’? How ready am I to think of something unfamiliar? How much am I ready to take what each day can give me during this lockdown? – – – The river is wild – flowing to an uncertain end, and how much of this chaos can I embrace?

This is the defining moment in our life – to multiply our faith, our patience, our sacrifices – so that our anxieties and doubts will starve to death.

How trustingly do we place our lives in the hands of Jesus? . . .  Blessed are they who place themselves in the hands of God. God will place himself in their hands. Amen.

**Homily based on John 6:1-15**

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