An Extra Seven Baskets

Mark 8: 1-10
1 Kgs 12:26-32;13:33-34 / Ps 81

My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.
(Mark 8:2)

When we love like our Lord Jesus
He’ll multiply our little store,
Every generous act frees us
From the greed of craving for more.

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.” He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When He had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, He broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; He gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, He got into the boat with His disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. (Mark 8: 1-10)

Reflection

He was like a pied piper who was followed by a multitude of 4,000 people, drawn by the wonders of His healing, driving out evil spirits, and His revelations about the kingdom. These people had not prepared going to the wilderness with Him; they had dropped everything to follow Jesus, either because they hungered for His Word, or they had brought along their sick or possessed to be healed. It was the third day, and the Lord knew that they had run out of provisions. They were in the mountains, far from any store where they could buy some food. Jesus and His apostles were scheduled for another destination, but before He boarded a boat for the region of Dalmanutha, He had to take care of their needs first. That was when Jesus multiplied the seven loaves and a few fish to feed the four thousand. And just for good measure – to demonstrate His love for them – He made sure He left them with an extra seven baskets of leftovers for them to bring on their way home.

God demonstrates to us how much He loves us. He always gives us more than what we need, just to make sure that we can appreciate His love. And yet, how do most of us reciprocate that love? We abuse it with greed! We take more than what we need to the detriment of our neighbors. It is estimated that if only ten percent of mankind gave away ten percent of their wealth to help the hungry of this world, there would be no more malnourishment to speak of.

Love is defined in so many other terms that connote charity: giving, kindness, providence, compassion, generosity, almsgiving, etc. Love simply means providing for the needs of others (whatever those needs may be), just as God has given to us. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and must reflect God’s qualities. God is called Divine Providence because He has since time began provided everything for man, His greatest beloved in creation. How much of our Creator do we reflect in our dealings with our fellowmen?

Lord, in this season of love, You have shown us how to be generous to others, to those who are in need of our help not only what we can afford to give, but out of our own needs. Thank You, Jesus, for showing us that we must give an extra seven baskets, just to affirm God’s love. Amen.

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