The disciples were getting concerned. It was late in the day; the sun was going down and the crowd of more than 5,000 had to be hungry. So they approached Jesus and gently-but pointedly-suggested that he stop his cures and teaching so that he could dismiss the crowd to go into the nearby villages to buy food and fend for themselves. The disciples were hungry and weary, too. They wanted to kick back and have some nourishment, meager as it was, for all they had were five loaves and a couple of fish to share among themselves. After that, maybe get some shut-eye. But instead Jesus stops them cold by saying: "Give them some food yourselves."
Is he nuts?!?
No. He's trying to teach them a lesson. He's calling them to greater generosity. Discipleship is not a 9 to s job. Service isn't something we do by appointment only when we want and under circumstances we can control. Parents know all about such service; spouses, too, and anyone who is not wrapped up only in themselves.
We know the rest of the story with its under- and over-tones of the celebration of the Eucharist. All are fed and satisfied. But a further lesson is taught by the leftovers: twelve wicker baskets of fragments are gathered. That couldn't be a coincidence, could it? Twelve baskets-twelve disciples. A doggie basket for each! The message is hammered home: you do have food to give!
Generosity in serving others is more than just equalized; it is multiplied many times over.
-Fr. Sas, August 3 Homily
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A