There is a saying that I have learned from someone involved in a “sister school in Haiti” which I am sure is not original to him. He speaks:
To the world you are one. But to the one, you are the world.
In other words, the world might just see you as one person. But, to the one person that you are helping, you are the WORLD. The needs of the world seem daunting and impossible to solve. But, to the one person you/I are helping, our efforts mean the world.
The Scripture this weekend, 2 Kings 4:42-44 and John 6:1-15 speak of those who face the HUGE task of feeding a multitude with meager provisions. We hear Elisha the prophet telling a man of God who had 20 barley loaves to give it to a hundred people. And, there were leftovers.
The gospel tells us of the young boy with five barley loaves and two fish who gave what he had — to feed over 5,000 people. And there were fragments left over.
Wow!! It has been said many times over that there is not a problem of food in the world — there is a problem of distribution. Perhaps we can same the same of wealth or resources … there is enough in the world for all — the problem is a problem of distribution.
BOTTOM LINE: We are all called to share!!
I think it was Mother Theresa of Calcutta who said that “when you buy a new shirt/coat/dress — take one from your closet and share it with someone who is need.” So, if you/I get something new, take something from the closet and share it with someone who might be in need. In this way, the little we have helps SOMEONE. We may not feed the world, we might not clothe the world, but we help someone ….. AND TO THAT SOMEONE, WE ARE THE WORLD. They were in need, and we satisfied their need.
A few loaves fed 100 people …. a few loaves and two fish fed 5,000. We are capable of doing so much for those in need.
In real life, what might this mean:
> We make a weekly contribution to a local food bank or feeding program.
> We buy school supplies or uniforms for our kids and we buy one extra to share at the school uniform exchange.
> When we go to the grocery, we join their program of buying a “bag” of groceries to be donated to a local agency.
> We give $2 to the guy hanging out around the McDonald’s and we do not look back at him begrudgingly.look
We look through our closet and bring still usable clothing that we have not worn in awhile to Goodwill or a local agency helping those in need of clothing.
Yes, the world just sees me as one man. But to the one person I am helping …. I am the world for that day. I am the sign that someone cares. I am the young boy putting what I have into the hands of the master and letting HIM make it be more than what I offered.
The message is not complicated — it is straight forward and simple. The application seems hard ….. but it works. It has worked for 2,000 years. We see it working in Catholic Charities, we see it working in Catholic Relief Services, we see it working through the Red Cross …. and through our local food banks. Everyone does what they CAN, what they are ABLE TO DO, and God provides the miracle …. God multiplies our effort over and over again.
Listen — hear — act.