Sunday, July 31, 2011

LOAVES AND FISHES

A miracle is defined as a suspension of the laws of nature; an event which is inexplicable, contrary to the understanding of mankind.

In short, miracles are impossible.

Magicians do tricks. Legerdemain is the art of making things appear impossible. But it’s all a matter of appearance.

Miracles are rare and usually controversial. Skeptics will always insist there is a logical explanation.

Bottom line is, you either believe in miracles or you don’t.

I do.

This morning at Mass, the reading was the story of the loaves and fishes. A little boy comes up with five loaves of bread and two fishes and Jesus feeds five thousand people. With twelve baskets full of left overs.

A miracle?

You bet. I’ve seen what 32 relatives can do to turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, and a boat load of fixings. Before the pumpkin pie and ice cream.

Still, I never hear that story without trying to visualize that vast historic picnic. Were the apostles going around with baskets which mysteriously refilled every time a loaf of bread was removed? Were the two fishes a momma fish and a daddy fish who quickly generated vast edible progeny?

I always come back to the picture of a little boy offering to share his entire supply of food because so many people were hungry.

What kind of a schmuck would take a bite of the kid’s fish and keep his own stash of food for later on?

Is it possible that the true miracle that day was the change of human hearts from selfishness to generosity, from hoarding to sharing, from thinking about me to caring about others?

A suspension of human nature? Inexplicable? Contrary to the general understanding of the way people act?

I’d say so.

The experts on Madison Avenue will tell you that everybody always acts in their own self interest. What’s in it for me? That’s behavioral science. Anything else has to be a miracle.

For over two thousand years, Christianity has brought to this planet the miracle of charity. People caring for people. The word ‘charity’ comes from the Latin ‘caritas’ meaning love.

How many soup kitchens, how many hospitals, how many shelters and schools and homes for the aged have been spawned by a single, simple act of charity, of caring, of love?

And how many billions upon billions of one-on-one acts of generosity and kindness have oiled the machinery of human society?

Questions which bring me to the politics of the day.

I hear our President demanding that the rich be taxed to pay entitlements for the have-nots.

That’s not the way it works, Mr. O.

Does anyone suppose that the Apostles muscled their way through the crowd, snatching lunch baskets and doling out goodies?

Not hardly.

The relationship between a giver and a receiver is one marked by caring and gratitude. It forms a bond between the haves and the have-nots. We and they become all of us.

Not so with the nanny state. When I hand my wallet to the guy with a gun to my head, it’s not a miracle.

It’s robbery.

1 comment:

  1. Yes... It's robbery - so glad to see you stating this clearly and openly.

    My opposition to direct taxes and currency devaluation is based on the facilitative nature of these institutions. We must attack the root of the tree of evil, not merely the leaves.

    As for miracles - I believe in miracles too. It's difficult to be a Christian and not believe in miracles, I suspect.

    The more we understand about our physical world and our society the more we are inclined to believe in miracles.

    Scientists have reached somewhat of a consensus that the entire world emerged from a singularity roughly 4 billion years ago. All of the energy and matter that currently exist and will ever exist were created from an infinitesimally small physical location (aka nothingness). Prior to the event there was nothing but darkness and time didn't exist because light didn't exist.

    When was the last time something that had never previously existed sprang into physical existence from nothing? Sounds a bit like the loaves and the fishes to me...

    ReplyDelete