…When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, "This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves." (Jesus) said to them, "There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves." But they said to him, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have here." Then he said, "Bring them here to me," and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children. (Mt 14:13-21)
Why doesn’t God do something about it? This is the question that we all of us ask when we are faced with problem. We want God to enter into our situations to solve them. But Jesus wants his followers do to something about it (give them some food yourselves). God (also Jesus) wants men to do something about the situations. He does want us to take initiative.
Man’s effort is little. It will certainly not satisfy all. It is a limited effort. Man has only five loaves and two fishes. And that is all he has. Man should accept his limitedness and acknowledge his limitedness. Man also should bring his limitedness to God. God will do the miracle. But the miracle needs the limited effort from man. It is not needed for God. But the limitedness makes the man to realize the importance of God and his own role as creature.
When man’s little effort and God’s activities join together miracles do happen. The greatest meaning of the miracle is the significance of twelve loaves. Twelve loaves signify the twelve tribes of Israel. It is all the people of Israel. So God’s miracle is to satisfy all the people of Israel. It is for all.
…Then he said to the crowd, "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions." Then he told them a parable. "There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, 'What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?' And he said, 'This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, "Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!" But God said to him, 'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?' Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God." (Lk 12:13-21)
Man longs for possession. He thinks that life is in acquiring possessions. Longing for and relying on and believing in material things is materialism. Today’s man almost worships material things because he believes that material things can save his life. But Jesus says that “one’s life does not consist of possessions”. Storing up things even for the future is a step against (not towards) God.
God considers the materialist as a fool. Here fool represents the one who does not know the future. Fool thinks that the future is in his hands. He thinks that he can plan and organize things of the future on his own. But there is someone who controls the happenings of the future. Materials things are of this world and man who is also of the other world should think of the things of the other world.
“Man should become rich in what matters to God”. This is what Jesus concludes in today’s passage. Man should also possess things. He should not be foolish to possess only things of this world but he should possess the things of the world of God. He should be rich. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? (Mt 16,26)