6th Sunday after Pentecost 16.7.17 Multiplication
There are so many things to pray for. We could not even list all the situations that need prayer, let alone make the prayer. Even just one person, picked at random, would provide us many things to pray for, as every life has its dramas and crises.
Accordingly we can feel overwhelmed by the size and number of the problems we face, and give up before we start, as far as praying goes.
We feel with the apostles: How can we feed so many? And as to five loaves and two fish, what use is such a small amount of food?
Our own helplessness can work in our favour by forcing us to look elsewhere for solutions.
We look to God because only He can supply the power needed.
How much prayer is not made because of discouragement, or lack of faith? If that prayer had been made, who knows what would have been achieved? There is nothing to lose, at least.
When we pray for a person or situation we are handing over the five loaves of our faith and trusting in Our Lord to multiply that offering, making it abundant in its results.
Every prayer we make has implied in it another prayer: that what we pray will be taken to God by Our Mother Mary and the saints, and so made pleasing to Him.
Our prayer becomes more credible and our small offering becomes more formidable. Multiplied in its intensity the prayer will be more likely to make things happen.
Five loaves become thousands of loaves, enough to feed thousands - an image of the abundance of God, and His ability to make more from less, or something from nothing.
We should never allow discouragement to hinder our prayer. Rather we keep that prayer coming, day and night.
We bring what we have. There is much in the world we cannot control, but we can control our own attitude, our generosity of heart, our expectancy of God's help. These are things we can increase.
A lot of the situations we pray for involve the free will of other people, and that is a very hard thing to harness (even God finds that difficult!) But I can at least bring my own free will to comply with God’s will, and that is the recipe for success.
Our prayer has to be constant, filled with faith and hope, and made from a pure and generous heart – all things which themselves need prayer. If we are serious, God will help us at all levels at once - our own personal disposition, and the actual things we pray for.
We pray for everything at once - large and small, spiritual and material. Simply that God’s goodness be evident everywhere.
We pray for big things, like salvation of souls – the dead, the dying, all who most need the mercy of God; conversion of sinners.
For physical needs, like freedom from war and disaster.
For everyday things, like finding the car keys, safe travel.
It is hard work, but life is short and in the context of eternity who can object to a little bit of exertion.
The scene of the Gospel is repeated a thousand times in our lives: we see a big problem and we do not see the solution.
We bring forth what we have (faith, hope, trust) and we let God work the miracle that is needed.
We remember to thank Him and make sure that each miracle goes into the stock of our memory for the next time we need faith.
With the apostles, we say: Lord, teach us to pray (Lk 11,1). And then, hear our prayer.