This weekend Fr. Jason Marco, representing the diocese of San Carlos in the Philippines, spoke to us about the foreign missions. His stories of the pastoral work in his home diocese, and of the great needs there due to poverty, were inspiring. I saw the congregation listen attentively, and I was so very proud of the generous response to this need.
Indeed, all through the world there are so many needs. There is so much suffering in the world, so much violence, so many intractable problems. Sometimes we can begin to wonder if what we as individuals do can make any difference whatsoever. The great temptation here is to conclude that what we do makes no difference and therefore we give up trying. Recognize this for what it is - a temptation to despair that comes straight from the evil one.
St. Terese of the Little Flower is famous for saying, "do small things with great love." This little quote inspired another person named after her - Mother Theresa of Calcutta. She chose to do small things with great love, which grew as others joined her and turned into a veritable tsunami of good works all over the world.
This is the power of the blessing at work in us. Jesus gave the apostles a mandate in today's gospel when they asked him about the 5,000 hungry people gathered on that day and he said to them, "give them some food yourselves." The apostles saw all those people and were at a loss as to how they might meet such an overwhelming need. They only had five loaves and two fishes among them. But Jesus calmly took the loaves and the fish, blessed them, broke them, and gave them. And all were fed with such an abundance that there were leftovers.
Do small things with great love! As we see the needs of people around us or even on the other side of the world, make a decision to do something, no matter how little it might seem before such overwhelming needs. Do something beautiful for Jesus today by choosing to act, even if it seems like only offering five loaves and two fishes to try and feed 5,000 hungry people. Trust that Jesus will take what we offer, bless it, and change it into a tsunami of good works.
Through us, Jesus can change the world. Will we act? Will we offer him our five loaves and two fishes? Will we trust Jesus with what we have to offer? Try it, and witness the power of the blessing.