This morning, Mark tells his version of the loaves and the fishes (Ch 8:1-10). What stood out to me – besides the great compassion of Jesus for the people, many of whom had come “a great distance” to listen to him – was that the question Jesus asks is, “How many loaves do you have?” Initially, I thought maybe there were no fish in his telling of the miracle. Just before the distribution, Mark mentions that they also had “a few fish” but by then I had already begun to sing an old Joe Wise song whose refrain tells us:
If you share your bread with the hungry, if you bind up the wounds of the soul, then will your true love shine, then will your true love shine for all the world to see like a city on a hill, like a candle burning quiet in the night.
So it seems that it takes an inner willingness to share. Opening our hands is only a spontaneous movement if we have practiced it for awhile. Then the result is more than a good feeling or something for which we are praised, although people will, in fact, notice and perhaps be moved to imitate our generosity. We will not need a reward because we will understand what it is to act as God acts toward us, and our hearts will burn with the love that is as pure and brilliant as the light of a single candle in the dark.