The readings for the day are available here.
The Gospel reading for today is a one I remember well from my childhood - the miracle of the loaves and fishes. I remember hearing this story as a young child in Sunday School and marveling at the amount of food that Jesus was able to produce from only seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Everyone ate and there were leftovers! I remember trying to visualize Jesus standing over the crowd with a loaf of bread and breaking off pieces for others to eat. A very literal child, I wondered if the loaf just miraculously grew longer as Jesus tore off the ends, or if every time he picked a fish out of the basket another grew in its place. I came to the conclusion that it must have been magic; how else could so many eat from so little?
Many years ago, as I expressed this childhood fascination to a friend, they explained to me how she believed so many ate from so little. As Jesus shared his food, others shared theirs as well. Those who had come to watch Jesus were moved by his compassion and began to hand out their own food, all concern for their personal comfort overshadowed by the needs of those who had nothing. As little as some may have had, there was always someone who had less. So they fed them, and in the end there was an abundance and everyone was able to eat their fill.
So it is with generosity. In those times when I feared I did not have enough of something, be it money or time or compassion, I found that when I shared what little I had, my stores were replenished. The simple act of sharing, of creating communion with another person, restores our souls. If you don’t believe me, try it this Christmas season. Give a compliment to someone who annoys you. Leave a bigger tip. Go outside and throw a football with a little kid when you’d rather nap on the couch. I promise that the act of giving will repay you double fold.
Professor Susan McGraugh teaches in the School of Law.