Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
II Kings 4:42-44
“This is all I have it is not enough!” Have you ever had one of those moments or days? I did on Friday as I was trying to make some changes to the reconciliation chapel. You know where the reconciliation chapel is right? It is the little room off from the chapel where we go to know God’s love and forgiveness? My problem, well it is not a problem because it is the way I learn is I have to see it, then I have to feel it. What I mean by that is I learn best when I can see something and then step back and see what it feels like to me. My learning path goes to my eyes, then to my gut and then to my brain. I know this is not the best learning style, but it works for me. On Friday I was looking at the chapel, and things were beginning to feel ok, but then I just became overwhelmed, and I sat down and said, “This is all I have Lord, and it is not enough.” “This is all I have it is not enough!” Maybe you have felt this way because of a broken relationship, a death, or a situation in your life. Our readings today are about knowing what to do when we say, “This is all I have it is not enough!”
In our first reading and our gospel, we hear about bread made from barley. In ancient times bread from barley was food for the poor or feeding animals. What I understand is barley germinates quicker, and it is a bit easier to make into bread than bread made from wheat. Bread made from wheat was considered the bread of the rich.
In our first reading from the Book of II Kings, a man presumably a poor farmer brings Elisha 20 loaves of barley bread. It is the farmers “first fruits” the best of what he has to offer. This farmer is very poor, but he gives what is worth the most to him freely and without reservation to Elisha. Elisha’s a servant says “Is this all you have it is not enough!” Elisha does not listen to his servant but listens to God who blesses what the poor farmer has brought and made it into abundance.
In our Gospel, Jesus has 5000 people to feed, and he turns to Philip and says, “Where can we buy enough food for these people to eat?” Philip responds, “Two hundred-day hundred days wages would not be enough to feed this many people!” A little boy steps forward and says, “I have five barley loaves and two small fish.” Andrew responds, “Is this all you have it is not enough!” Jesus takes the loaves, and the fish blesses it, and he gives it to the people to eat, and they know of this life in abundance.
The poor farmer and the little boy are the heroes in our stories today for they teach us when we feel as though what we have is not enough God says in reply, “Bring what you have and it is enough, I can work with what you bring and make it a great abundance.” Our Eucharist is about taking what we think is not enough and blessing it into an abundance.