When I started training for the priesthood six years ago this summer I did not know how I would sustain myself along the new path I was about to enter. I had a pretty good idea of the priest I wanted to be. I also knew how much my failing could and probably would be a stumbling block to the formation into the priest I wanted to be. As for most of us I wasn’t quite sure if I would cope; and I still wonder.
God gives as much as we need. Five loaves of bread and two fish seemed nowhere near enough to feed the masses of people that had gathered to hear Jesus. But from the little that was offered Jesus was able to feed all. From the little that we are able to offer we can trust that God will sustain us. This is good news for all those who are on a journey with Jesus. We do not need much to follow but we need to be able to trust that God will provide just enough to sustain us.
A quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written in 1943, has sustained me over the years,
“I believe that God will give us in each state of emergency as much power of resistance as we need. But he will not give in advance, so that we do not rely on ourselves but on him alone.”
As we reflect on Jesus feeding 5,000 men and the women and children who had come to listen to him I hope that we will continue and maybe learn anew to trust that God will provide as and when we need it. Bonhoeffer’s words written at an immensely difficult time have helped me to focus on how God is sustaining me rather than despairing at the never ending to-do lists. As God fed the 5,000 he is feeding us just as much as we need.