“How many loaves do you have?”
“How do you know? I asked: how many?”
“Too little, totally insufficient.”
“I understand, but how many?”
“Perfect, that’s all I need. Obviously seven won’t be enough to feed all, but I do need exactly those seven. I am not about to do what you are thinking. It is not about distribution. I am about to do what you do not even imagine, what you cannot imagine, because you have never seen anything like this before. I need your seven loaves in order to perform a miracle. Will you give them to me?”
What about you?
How many talents do you have?
How much energy do you have left tonight?
How much pain do you hold within?
How much zeal do you have?
How much confusion do you have in your head?
How much time do you have?
Will you give this all to me?
Jesus is not asking for something you don’t have. He asks for all that you have. Offer it to him, and he will perform a miracle. He will give you what he needs, so that you can give it to him and become that offering of love:
“I send you.
There, with your little, and with your all.
I give you all that you need. […] Open your hand to receive and to give.
Be a gift for the people I put around you. Be a gift of Love for those who feel lost and are not aware that they are looking for Me.[…]” (Vania Antonelli)
When you are afraid of not having what it takes and doubt you are even able to love, you can offer this very poverty. With gratitude, Jesus will multiply your humble gift. For my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 2:19) The loaves we have are exactly the ones he needs: five, seven, a thousand … .
“How much love do you have?”
“I long to love as much as you love, Jesus, but my love is so small … . It is not enough; I have only the tiniest crumbs of love; how can they be useful to you?”
The Lord doesn’t ask us to love in the same measure he loved, but to love in the same way (kathos) he loved (John 13:34). His measure is the infinite; our measure is microscopic. His way is the total gift of self, the sacrificial love, the one that costs, the one that offers everything on the cross trusting that it will bear fruit of eternal life and of resurrection. When we spiritually bring “our little and our all” to the Offertory at Mass, we love in the way Jesus loves us. In Christ we are baptized, and in him we participate in the common priesthood of all believers (CCC 1268). Our spiritual offering is the love we bring: our seven loaves, our five dollars, our headache and our fears, our work in the office and our rosary prayed in the car, the half hour we played with our kids and the meal we cooked on Sunday, our faithfulness to our spouses, and the caress given to Grandpa … . Our little love has very little value, but in him it hopes to become sacrificial and fruitful like his love.
“The whole church is united with the offering and intercession of Christ.” Through the ministry of priests the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests’ hands in the name of the whole church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord himself comes. (CCC 1369)
If we hold on to our seven loaves, they will go stale. If we simply distribute them, they may feed a few of our neighbors and friends. If we give them all to the Lord, spiritually offering them on the altar, they will reach, through Him, all the ends of the earth and feed the hungry crowds who are longing for a spiritual food.
There again was a great crowd without anything to eat. Jesus said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd.” His Disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They ate and were satisfied. (Mark 8:1-10)
How many loaves do you have? Before Mass, prepare a spiritual offering of the meager love and the sufferings you bear in your heart. Then, lift them up to the Lord. Join them to the Paschal Mystery. Through the Holy Spirit, give them to Jesus in the miracle of the altar.