July 24, 2021
I just heard a true story that happened off the coast of North Carolina. A dad and his son were deep sea fishing when a boat came at them and nearly collided. They looked and there was no one driving the boat. There was no one even on the boat! They were in the middle of the ocean. They knew that someone probably had been on the boat but saw no one in the water. Wouldn't finding whoever must have fallen off that boat seem hopeless? In the vast ocean? So the dad, Andrew and his son Jack used GPS information from the boat to see where it had been. They set off in the ocean as quickly as they could to look for the person who must have fallen off. Soon they saw boat shoes drifting in the water and moments later found Sascha Scheller. He had been treading water for almost 3 hours! They brought hin onto the boat and he quickly recovered.
I stopped and thought: "If that was me and I saw a boat without a captain, would I have gone looking for them? After all, maybe there never was a person on the boat to begin with. Maybe it was at the dock being worked on and drifted away from the dock. Besides, where would I even start looking for someone in the vast ocean?" If I thought that way and didn't even to try to help, I would have missed my chance to be part of the miracle - and the miracle would never have happened. The owner of the boat would have died from my inactivity!
Miracles do happen and we are called to be part of them. In our Gospel this weekend the apostles are faced with the hopeless situation of many thousands of hungry people and only five loaves of bread and two fish. They turn to Jesus. Jesus does not disappoint. He feeds more than 5,000 people!
There is a key phrase to understanding today's Gospel. The part where it says, Jesus "distributed" the food to them. Do you think Jesus went to each of the thousands of people and brought them their food? I wouldn't think so. So, the apostles, the believers in Jesus, most certainly helped - and became part of the miracle. And not only the apostles, but many of the people there. Miracles can involve many of us and they happen all the time.
Andrew and Jack, out in ocean in their boat, they became part of the miracle. The development of a vaccine that stopped Covid-19 from wiping out our race. That is a miracle. A miracle with many people involved. That miracle is still unfolding since only 1% of people in poor countries have been vaccinated. Left unvaccinated, entire populations will die. Here in America, more than half of our population remains unvaccinated and are dying in increasing number each day. (see https://ourworldindata.org/
Right now, you and I are the ones safe in our own boat as we see someone else's boat drifting by with its owner, treading water off in the distance and awaiting their death from Covid-19. This week, decide what you can do to become part of the miracle and save them. Amen.