The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 14:14-22
In our gospel reading today we hear the well known story which is often called the feeding of the five thousand. However when we read this passage we find that the Lord has done something even more unlikely and impossible than feed five thousand people. We are told that there were five thousand men, besides all the women and children in the crowd. If we allow ourselves to speculate a bit we can assume quite easily that there were 10 to 20 thousand in the crowd that went to meet Jesus that day.
One of the ways in which logic tells us that God exists is the idea that everything has to come from somewhere. Matter can’t simply create itself. Elements can’t create themselves. They all came into being. There was a time when matter and even space itself did not exist. This was one of the logical conclusions of Einstein and now with the power of super telescopes we are able to see that the universe is expanding and that the universe has expanded from a point of nothing. So the fact that anything exists, even a simple rock….is not a matter of chance. Matter itself would not exist without something or Someone to bring it into existence.
This tells us that God creates out of nothing. From one point of view, only God creates. We humans take things and refashion them. We take sand and transform it into glass, we take the glass and turn it into beads or windows etc. But God is the only true creator because He brings things from nothingness into being. He takes what did not exist and gives it existence and reality. We are told in Genesis that God created the heavens and the earth in the beginning. This means that there was a time when nothing but God existed. And we reflect this in our liturgy when we say “Christ the existing one.” This should literally be translated as “Christ the I AM.” Christ the one who was, and is and ever shall be.
So it is within this context that we see a very significant miracle, the feeding of thousands through 5 loaves and two fish. Humanly speaking, scientifically speaking, this is impossible. But God is creator.
We can apply this in our lives in many ways. One way that we can think about this is the way that we struggle against our own sins. There are days when we feel like rotten, miserable people. We feel like we’ve failed others or we feel like we can never become better. I have good news for you. When you feel like nothing…God can use you and create through you. It is one of the reasons why we have to grow in humility. When I’m humble, I believe that I am nothing. When I believe that I am nothing, God brings me into being. In essence we are reborn by His Word. One of the worst habits to get into is to think that all we have to do is try harder. In the spiritual life, effort gets us part of the way… but Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. How can we create virtue where none exists? How can we create wisdom within ourselves? We can’t, He CAN!
My own virtues and skills are limited. There are so many problems in the world and my own personal skills don’t seem to help. I’m like the disciples with 5 loaves and two fish. I’m nearly empty handed, how can I help those around me? But we know something that the disciples could not yet recognize; the One who supplies all things is with us. He is the One who knows what the exact problem is and how exactly to address that problem.
Human logic tells us that certain things are impossible. God defies these odds on a regular basis. Multiplying bread and fish is amazing….but for the Creator of the heavens and the earth….it is a small thing. We pray that God will continue His work of creation within each of our hearts and within this holy community.
Glory be to God Forever AMEN.