Today’s Gospel reading occurs substantially in all four gospels. This testifies to its importance. All the more reason for us to discover that “importance” for us personally. Let’s consider one facet of this gospel treasure which speaks forcefully of God’s lavish generosity toward us. This is the miraculous feeding of such a huge crowd—over five thousand! Other gospel examples of Jesus’ abundance include the 900 bottles of wine produced at the wedding feast at Cana and the 103 fish caught on the lake of Galilee. Not to mention the total forgiveness given to the thief on the cross and the gracious rehabilitation of Peter, fitting him for ministry.

Now let’s get personal. How have you experienced this same lavish generosity of God in your own life? You might actually be overwhelmed by God’s great goodness. Notice also how in today’s gospel Jesus calls the disciples to be instruments of this generosity. The question: how does God call you to be an instrument of his generosity towards others?

It is with good reason that St. Ignatius composed the prayer that says “Lord, teach me to be generous, to give and not to count the cost.” Easy to say; more challenging to live.

—Fr. Jim Serrick, S.J. is a long-time musician, liturgist, and pastor. He currently serves at Colombiere Jesuit Center, Clarkston, MI.