Monday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In his recent encyclical, Laudato Si, Pope Francis reminds us that instead of resolving the problem of the poor, some propose a reduction in the birth rate through the imposition of certain policies of “reproductive health.” The Holy Father further says that to blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism is one way of refusing to face the issues. For the Holy Father, to blame population growth is an attempt at legitimizing the present model of distribution where a minority believes that it has the right to consume, even though such consumption causes excessive waste. Furthermore, the Holy Father points out that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and “whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor”.
In the Gospel reading today, we hear that the crowd picks up the fragments left over – twelve wicker baskets full. Matthew’s Gospel does not tell us what happens with the left over, but we know that the left over from the multiplication of the loaves is different than the wasted food of today. The former was created out of the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ and the latter was created by consumerism. Moreover, Jesus refuses to dismiss the crowd as He knows that dismissing the crowd is the not the solution for the problems that they face.
Fifty years ago, when the population of the earth was less than four billion, we were told that we would be starving to death in fifty years. Such fear denies God’s ability to provide for the earth’s population with the riches that He has given to the planet. Two thousand years ago, Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes and He will continue to provide for population now and in the future with His riches.