“There is no need for them to go away. You give them something to eat.”
Believing in him, a large crowd had come to where Jesus was in order to be healed and to listen to his words. They had stayed with him all day in a place that was distant and barren; now, they were tired and hungry. The disciples wanted to send them away to find food for themselves. Jesus’ unexpected response was, “You give them something to eat.” The disciples were startled. What they had could never be enough! How could this be his expectation? And then it happened. Rather than send them away, the disciples shared what they had. Having heard Jesus’ words and being in his presence, the crowd became a community, and now, there was enough for everyone. This is our call too: “You give them something to eat.” To leave suffering people to fend for themselves, or to pray that they will receive food, shelter and health care is not adequate. We are the ones who are expected to realize that everyone can have enough if we use only what we need. The problem is in the distribution, in the attitude which enables those with much to increasingly acquire more while those in need are sent away to eke out their lives as best they can. Instead, Jesus insists to his followers, “You give them something to eat.”
O God, to those who have hunger, give bread, and to us who have bread, give the hunger for justice.
Prayer from Latin America
Be aware of the needs of so many on this earth who are the victims of injustice and oppression. Be aware of those who suffer, human and non-human, to satisfy the comfort of others. Be outraged at policies which oppress the poor of this earth under the cover of false platitudes. Act yourself or support organizations that meet these needs.
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;
You give them something to eat.”
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.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
Most of the harvest of the world never gets to most of the poor of the world because the economic system sows profit instead of human concern.
Joan Chittister, OSB
Recent research shows that many children who do not have enough to eat wind up with diminished capacity to understand and learn. Children don’t have to be starving for this to happen. Even mild undernutrition – the kind most common among poor people in America – can do it.
The big majority of Americans, who are comparatively well-off, have developed an ability to have enclaves of people living in the greatest misery almost without noticing them.
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
John F. Kennedy
Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock–food for the well off–while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.
Dr. Walden Bello
Most of our citizenry believes that hunger only affects people who are lazy or people who are just looking for a handout, people who don’t want to work, but, sadly, that is not true. Over one-third of our hungry people are innocent children who are members of households that simply cannot provide enough food or proper nutrition. And to think of the elderly suffering from malnutrition is just too hard for most of us. Unlike Third World nations, in our country the problem is not having too little – it is about not caring enough! Write your elected representatives and promote support for the hungry.