Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Our Daily Bread: Wheat and Barley Loaves

Painting by LANFRANCO, Giovanni

The gospel reading from this past Monday (Matthew 14:13-21) invited us to witness the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. The hunger for the word of God led over five thousand eager souls to follow Our Lord to a deserted place. Their spiritual hunger caused them to forget their physical hunger, as no one packed a meal. There were only two loaves and five fish to feed the crowd so the apostles suggested that Jesus dismiss the people to go to the villages for food.

Jesus, who is always so generous with us, took compassion on the people. He blessed the food, broke the bread and gave it to His disciples- who then gave it to the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over --twelve wicker baskets full.

It is so easy to get discouraged at times when it seems like our human means are lacking. Perhaps as we reach the end of the month we find ourselves pinching pennies- or no matter how much time we spend trying to solve a problem, the answer remains hidden. We must be optimistic! Many saints teach us how to live spiritual optimism well. St. Teresa of Avila was known to say “Teresa can do nothing alone. Teresa and a maravedi (a penny, say), less than nothing. But Teresa, a maravedi and God can do anything.” (A. Ruiz, Teresian Anecdotes, Burgos, 1982) With God, nothing is impossible! We set before Him our meager two loaves and five fish, and just look at what He can do with them!

There is a wonderful recipe for Wheat and Barley Loaves on page 182 of A Continual Feast. We are eager to feast on this loaf tonight, and we marked it with a cross on top (as suggested in the cook book) to remind us of the wonderful miracle.

(all it needs now is butter!)

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