"You give them something to eat", Mathew 14:16
The Gospel reading on the first Sunday of August 2020 describes the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus feeds a multitude of people who followed him to listen to his teachings and be healed of various sufferings
In the evening, the disciples suggest Jesus dismiss the crowd, so they can go to eat. But the Lord has compassion for the people gathered and says to the disciples, "you give them something to eat" (Mt 14, 16).
They, however, have only five loaves and two fishes; however, Jesus sends the disciples to distribute the bread to the crowd.
The miracle occurs when they fraternally share a few loaves trusting in the power of God.
Distributing food is not an easy task today in the "Human Settlement January 31st" in Piura, Peru.
Marisol Velasco is a leader in the faith community of IL-P, Edna Linares, and Dilcia Razuri are faithful collaborators of the mission. By distributing food in a context with many people living with COVID-19, they are exposed because the virus is very contagious.
They have an attitude of solidarity and empathy and help those who need it most.
The church in Piura is placed in a neighborhood where work and bread are lacking. The people of the congregation do not have to donate much food to other people; however, with the help of the World Hunger and Lutheran Disaster Response support, they fed many.
But, food is a human right, and we learned that supporting the right to food does not mean distributing food only, which certainly must be done in this COVID-19 emergency. When the problem is structural, accompaniment means supporting the struggles of the local communities.
Here, the extraordinary thing is solidarity and mutuality.
Jesus and the disciples knew the needs of the crowd that followed him and their needs, but it was compassion that led to feeding them.
In COVID-19 contexts people in many places are hungry but empty religious only offer some promises of prosperity that they will never be able to keep
The crowd is hungry, and atheists and skeptics try to convince them that they are not hungry, and you have to lock yourself in the houses and wait for the COVID-19 to leave.
The crowd is hungry; to feed them, Jesus tells them to sit down, get comfortable (a sign of hospitality), and when he sends his disciples to feed them, Jesus creates community.
Hospitality and community are what Marisol, Dilcia, and Edna are generating when they distribute food amid the ferocious pandemic. God bless them and allow us to follow their example. Amen