The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 29th July 2012

There is a well-known saying that surfaces every once in a while which tells us that "size doesn't matter".  Supposedly, this phrase is of a rather dubious origin but, nonetheless, it surfaces regularly in all sorts of situations.
Sometimes, however, size does matter.  In fact, sometimes, size is precisely the point.
This weekend's gospel passage is one in which we must take account of the size of things - on the one hand we have a mountain, surely a large thing; then we have the huge crowd; we also can note the presence of the feast of Passover, the biggest feast; then there is the huge space; and, of course, the large amount of leftovers from the meal.
On the other hand we have the small group of Jesus with his disciples; there are only five loaves and two fish; and, of course, the unnamed hero of our tale, the little boy.
The enormity of the challenge is faced by a seemingly insignificant response.  The impossible to achieve is addressed in a very small way.
This is not a situation that is unfamiliar to us.  In the life of every family there are moments when we are faced with things that are terribly difficult to deal with.  From illness to bereavement, to family rifts, to trauma, to threats - the variety of things that can go wrong in our families is without end.  Very often, in fact, it seems that the biggest danger to our family comes from within.
And yet, the world does not end; somehow we get through it; somehow we cope; from somewhere we unearth resources that we never realised we possessed.
We say we believe that God walks with us and yet we seem to prefer to do things by ourselves.  We say we trust in God but we often have difficulty handing over control.  We say that we know that God will come to our assistance and yet we generally prefer to prepare for any eventuality.
Today's gospel passage presents us with a challenge - the challenge to accept that what we have is enough.  God who made us has given us what we need, not only to survive but also to be happy.  Certainly, this does not mean that we can sit back and wait - after all, God has given us intelligence, talents, insights, courage and hope as tools to achieve that happiness.  The point is that no matter how difficult things may seem, we have enough to deal with them.
Sometimes we are tired or frustrated or even angry with life.  This can make it difficult to be positive.  But, when we look back over our lives and see the amount of things that we have come through we should be encouraged.  Bad things do happen; some people are just horrible to us; good people do suffer - but the world keeps turning and we have managed to hang in there.
Do your best - it will be enough.




Article posted on 26th of July 2012

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