You and Me and the Loaves and the Fishes

Thursday, July 6th, 2023

You and Me and the Loaves and the Fishes

“So the people reclined on the grass, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the five barley loaves and the two fish, gave thanks and distributed them to those who were reclining . . . [and] they had their fill.” John 6: 1-15

Deacon Lex Ferrauiola

Miracles aren’t always what we expect them to be. Miracles are happening every day all around us; miracles are happening every day within us.

Jesus was filled with unconditional love. While he walked the hills and shores of Galilee, he called those around him to acts of love and selflessness. He brought out the best in others just by being in his presence.

In the above gospel, Jesus works a wonderful miracle. But what was that miracle? Was it an act of magic that awed the crowd and defied the laws of physical nature? Or was it an act of collective love that defied the laws of human nature?

Was the real miracle in this story not the reproduction of five barley loaves and two small fish, but Jesus’ ability to get the people in the crowd to share what little food they had; and the discovery that once they opened their hearts and their lunch baskets, there was more than enough food for everyone? Knowing what we do about human nature, the second possibility seems the greater miracle.

We all come into the world with the basic human tendency to be self-centered; to put our own wants and needs before the love of God and the needs of others. It’s human nature; we might think of it as a kind of original sin.

But while we all possess this basic human tendency to be self-centered, there is a light that shines within our soul. That light is the presence of Christ within us.

And the Christ within calls each of us forth like Lazarus from the tomb, to emerge from the prison of self-centeredness with acts of service and heroic love for our sisters and brothers. Each time we answer ‘yes’ to this call, a miracle happens.

I have witnessed many miracles in my life. I have seen children and adults from our parish carry food and clothing into Central Park on freezing winter mornings to comfort the homeless.

I have seen a frail young homeless woman, shivering in the snow, hand back a blanket and tell us about a man sleeping in a cardboard box on the next street who was sick and needed it more.

I have seen our young people spend their weekends cleaning and painting a shelter for unwed mothers in the Bronx,

I have seen successful executives share their struggles with addiction and mental illness to help encourage others locked in similar struggles.

I have seen victims of violence and racism reach out with unconditional love and forgiveness.

These are the kinds of miracles that Jesus brings about each day; not spectacular events that defy the laws of nature, but acts of love that defy the laws of self-interest.

Miracles aren’t always what we expect them to be. Miracles are happening every day all around us; miracles are happening every day within us.

My sisters and brothers, let us go forth today to live the gospel and to be miracle workers for our own little corner of the world.

Lex Ferrauiola is a husband, father, grandfather and a Catholic deacon serving as a pastoral minister and hospital chaplain within the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. His newest book, All Shall Be Well: Finding God Among the Pots and the Pans is available now.

$12.00 available at and through local booksellers (ISBN-13 979-8767368921)

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