A Reflection for the Parish Bulletin
by Barbara Murphy, Adult Faith Formation, St. Paul the Apostle Parish,
Westwood (Los Angeles), CA
17th sunday of the Year John 6: 1-15
There’s a movie by Danny Boyle (“Slum Dog Millionaire” director) called “Millions”. It’s the story of a boy, Damien, who has visions of saints that assist him on his journey to be good. A bag of money falls from the sky one day and he sets out to help the poor. His older brother, Anthony, has other ideas.
One of Damien’s visions is of St. Peter who tells him the eye witness account of the multiplication of loaves. Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitudes. When they failed, a boy with two loaves and fishes came forward. The miracle happened when the people started taking the food they had out of their pockets and putting it on the plate as it went around. St. Peter told Damien the story was about him. The boy with the fish and loaves didn’t set out to do a miracle. He was just thinking about lunch. What seems like a miracle is something “dead simple”.
Through a small act of willingness to intervene in the most basic of people’s lives, others opened their hearts and shared what they had. Is this the “official” interpretation of the story? Now we speak in generalities. Jesus could have indeed made those few pieces of food become a feast for thousands. Aren’t we the hands of God who bless, break, give, and eat? Aren’t we the ones who feed the hungry for God? We have little to give in the enormity of need, but that boy saw so many hungry people and did what he could.
We don’t have to do everything. Our lives are overwhelmed. Thomas Groome, Boston College professor, said we should identify what fires us and work on that in whatever way we can, how much we can, great or small. In our effort the “cause” is served. In 1 Corinthians Paul talks about the gifts each of us are given by the Spirit of God and no one is less important than another. We all have our role to play in the passion.
The boy gave to God by giving what he had to the hungry. Hunger comes in many forms. Physical, emotional, spiritual. We serve in the way and in the place we can serve. It’s important. See what one little boy can do?
I don’t want to tell you the ending of the movie because I urge you to see it. It’s delightful. What I will tell you is that Damien’s vision can be a reality.
Thank you, Barbara!
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