BY ALLISON LOECKE | June 20, 2022
Have you read the book The Day the World Came to Town? It’s the true story of Gander, Newfoundland, a small town of about 10,000 residents that found itself home to nearly 7,000 stranded passengers from all over the world when airspace over the United States shut down on September 11, 2001. Written by Jim Defede, it is a story of humanity at its finest—of hospitality and a no questions asked kind of goodwill; of compassion amid deep heartache. There was no toilet paper hoarding (at least none written about in the book) and, instead, people came from miles away to offer meals, clothes, blankets, toys, and space in their homes to the stranded passengers. It was the kind of sharing we were all taught in kindergarten. There was enough!
Our Gospel story from Luke is a familiar one—perhaps because it is the only miracle of Jesus that appears (albeit slightly differently) in all four Gospels. Jesus and the Disciples are faced with a hungry and large crowd and only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. I love the response Jesus gives to the Disciples when they try to get him to send everyone away: “Feed them yourselves!” Sure, he would help get the party started, but THEY would bring it to the crowd. There were no special tickets or qualifications—this was God’s table after all and ALL were welcome. There was enough!
Truly, God has given us enough, but we have really messed up the supply chain.
The miracle was not only the multiplication of loaves and fishes, but the hearts broken open to share with one another: the hearts of the Disciples, the crowd, the people of Gander, Newfoundland, and each of us when we break off a piece of God’s bounty and offer it to another. A few extra dollars, the bigger piece of cake, half of the basil harvest from our garden, an hour of our time—how might we share with those around us? What simple miracle can we perform today?
Allison Loecke lives in Chicago with a revolving door of foster cats. She is a self-described super aunt, party planner, aspiring tap dancer, and proud member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church. She is regional director with Ignatian Spirituality Project, which offers spiritual accompaniment to people in recovery from addiction and homelessness.
Allison asks how we can share with those around us? When our hearts are broken up to share that compassionate love we see a change in our world. The mercy, goodness and love is exactly our direction. When we respond to the person who is asking our advice, when we give direction to those who seem to be wandering in different ways, when we encourage those who are doing good for others and giving time and talent to one another we show how we can share. This is a time of grace as God can never be far from us in this goodness. The Holy Spirit is with us when we turn a school from disregard for one another to unending generosity for those things that will help all. The Holy Spirit comes to our needs when administration realizes that the Holy Spirit dwells within all who we meet. The Holy Spirit is there for us in every situation helping us give the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to all in our path. Today let us give the gift of ourselves to all we meet.
Allison, thanks for this beautiful and heart-warming piece. Thus wrote Mahatma Gandhi: “Nature produces sufficient for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”