By Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD
There’s an amusing story about two parish priests discussing about how they share the Sunday collection with their assistant priests. “That’s easy,” the younger priest said. “I simply draw a big circle on the floor. I toss the money up in the air and what falls inside is mine; what falls outside goes to my assistant.”
“My system is simpler and more effective,” bragged the older priest. “I simply toss up all the money in the air. What goes up is for my assistant, and what comes down is for me.” Following the Law of Gravity, obviously the assistant gets nothing!
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The theme of this 17th Sunday gospel is about sharing, but not the kind which those parish priests practiced.
In John 6, 1-15, we read about Jesus’ miracle of the multiplication of bread and fish. The famished Jews had only five loaves of bread and two fish, which a little boy offered. But out of these, the Lord blessed and, lo and behold, they multiplied such that there were plenty of leftovers.
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What lesson can we learn from this gospel episode? The Lord wants us to make do with what we have, whether it be a talent, a meager contribution or time for some service.
Too often, we behave like the disciples. When the odds seem insurmountable, we give up. “Send the people home,” the disciples said. But Jesus ordered them instead to “feed them.” The Lord is saying: “Do something about your problem. When it looks difficult, don’t complain or grumble.”
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For instance, if your parents failed in sending you to school, don’t blame them. It will not do you any good, brooding over the past. Instead, find ways to support yourself in order to achieve what your parents could not do for you.
When I was assigned in the Divine Word College of Laoag, I remember one of our commerce students majoring in accountancy, who was intellectually gifted but financially needy. The father struggled to support his family of nine siblings.
Being the eldest, he must have been tempted many times to quit schooling and work to help his father and mother augment the family income.
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But he continued studying, even if he had to work as a student janitor. Thanks to his diligence and determination, when he took the board examination, he placed fifth among the top ten! Not long afterwards he was hired by a big company in Ilocos Norte. With his ample salary he was able to help his brothers and sisters pursue their studies.
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If we cannot give financial contribution to the less fortunate or to the church, we can contribute our talent or time. As in the miracle of the bread and fish, the Lord blessed what little was offered and it multiplied beyond the disciples’ expectations.
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THE LIGHTER SIDE. Wrong Sharing. Once a mother gave her older son a bottle of coke, telling him to share it equally with his younger brother. Drinking straight from the bottle, the mother saw saw him empty its content.
“Didn’t I tell you to share the bottle equally with your younger brother?” the indignant mother said. “Why did you drink the whole bottle?”
“Well, Mama,” he replied, “I couldn’t help it because my share was the lower part.”
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