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The five loaves and two fish were his entire food for the day. When the apostles asked him, “Can we have those?” we can imagine him replying: “These? Not these. This is all I’ve got. Go find a rich guy with a big crate of bread.” But he didn’t. He gave the little he had. Not much, but it was enough.
Imagine being him and having people ask you: “You gave the five loaves and two fish that fed five thousand?” What do you say to that? “Well, sort of. It’s not like I fed five thousand people.” “No, but if you hadn’t given the five loaves and two fish, it wouldn’t have happened. It was like Mary. You did your part; you said ‘yes.’ And that made all the difference.”
Sacrificial love does not require wealth. There is always something to give.
The politics of envy is not only ugly and unjust. It impoverishes people both materially and spiritually. In envy, people lose the experience of charity, the aspect of love and gift of spirit that prioritizes others before oneself.
The modern secular ethos says, “You have little and deserve more.” The traditional pious ethos says, “You are blessed by God and should be a blessing for others.” The former condemns the poor as helpless peons deprived of the fullness of life. The latter claims that the poor can enjoy life abundantly and that it is selfless giving which will make them rich.
As Thomas Sowell has said, we are all born poor. Poverty is the natural state of Man and it is wealth that needs explanation. But to be poor is not to be helpless and insignificant. There is nobility in love which cannot be purchased, nor lost. A kind word costs nothing. A smile is not spent but summoned.
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