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Being Little for God

First Reading: Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel,
be careful what you are about to do to these men.
Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important,
and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed,
and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing.
After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census.
He also drew people after him,
but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered.
So now I tell you,
have nothing to do with these men, and let them go.
For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin,
it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him.
After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.
So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin,
rejoicing that they had been found worthy
to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes,
they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (see 4abc) One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. One thing I seek: to dwell in the house of the Lord.

Gospel: John 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

NAB

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I am always amazed when I read the Acts of the Apostles, especially at passages such as today’s where the Apostles were reprimanded and flogged but left “rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” Rejoicing? The same guys that were cowering behind locked doors after Jesus’ death? I can relate to those pre-Pentecost apostles. At times they were hot-tempered, confused, tempted, and sometimes even a little clueless. I have to admit that I love that because it meant they were human. They struggled in life just as we do.

However, when Jesus chose them He saw more than their human faults. He saw their love, devotion, and desire to follow the path of God. He saw what they were capable of accomplishing. When each of these men heard Jesus call their name and ask them to follow Him, I am sure they felt a surge of excitement as well as a pang of unworthiness or uncertainty.

Like the five loaves and two fish in today’s Gospel, it did not matter that they were seemingly small and insignificant. Jesus knew their littleness in the eyes of man but He was looking at them through a different lens. God is always looking for littleness to work great wonders.

I find comfort in this when I feel like I can’t possibly do what God is asking of me. Sometimes my goal is to simply make it though the day without losing my temper with anyone. Sometimes it is to reach outside my comfort zone and start something new. Sometimes it is to carry a cross that looks way too heavy for my shoulders.

Can you relate? You may feel the tears welling up as you whisper, I can’t do this. On your own, you can’t, just as there was no way the Apostles were going to feed all those people with those measly loaves and fish. But in the hands of Our Lord, miracles happen. It is the same with us. When we place in God’s hands the little bit that we can barely muster, He can miraculously grow and expand it far beyond what we thought possible.

Do you feel like something is holding you back? Is there something you lack to accomplish a task or carry a cross? Place yourself at the feet of Christ and offer what little you have to Him. Let Jesus take your littleness and make something great.

photo credit

Bobbi Rol is a wife, a mama of four and a blogger learning to love God in the midst of dishes, laundry and swinging light sabers. You can find out more about her here.

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