When demands press in on me

Numbers 11: 4b-15
Matthew 14:13-21

Some days I feel like Moses in today’s first reading. The people are pressing in on him, demanding he give them meat. Manna is just too yucky and they people are tired.

How often when I feel people pressing in on me to do something, or when people keep asking the same question or ask a question that I had answered ten minutes before, do I want to say, “Get me out of here.”

Moses tells God just about the same thing. If you can’t fix this, then just kill me – get me out of here.

As I prayed over this reading, I immediately thought of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes when Jesus tells his disciples, “Give them something to eat.”

Then I turned the page and discovered that Matthew’s account of the feeding of the multitudes is today’s Gospel.

Jesus had been pressed upon on all sides by the sick seeking to be healed. His disciples, seeing the crowds, asks Jesus to send the people away. Feeding all these folks would be too much.

“Send them away” is their response to the pressing demands of the people.

But Jesus says, “Give them some food yourselves.”

Don’t complain; don’t pass the buck; don’t try to get rid of the need by telling the people to take care of themselves. Do something.

But we only have five loaves and two fish, they offer as an excuse.

I can almost hear Jesus mumbling, “Don’t you get it. It doesn’t matter how little you have. You have the opportunity to respond. Respond as you can and give what you have. I – and my Father – will take care of the rest.”

How often I feel my limitations, my lack of personal resources to respond to needs. But in and through my limitations, God can work. God will provide – not me.

I have been reading some of Caryll Houselander recently and this quote – together with today’s readings helps me reflect on how to respond to pressing demands, in the spirit of Christ:

That is the eucharistic life— giving our littleness to God and rejoicing in Him, through our littleness giving Him to the world.

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