There is a statement which has hung on the walls of various offices that I have inhabited that remains pertinent to the ministry I have shared during those years. You may have seen this: "We the unwilling, led by the unqualified, have been doing the unbelievable for so long with so little, we now attempt the impossible with nothing!" You can attach all kinds of sentiments to that statement from absolute fear and desperation, to unbounded joy and celebration, depending upon one’s perspective, or outlook. Ah, perspective. Is that toward which the Word is pointing us today? Our perspective? Here is described the situation in which the disciples, having just participated in one of the more astounding "miracles" of Jesus’ public ministry – 4000 people fed with seven loaves and a few small fishes, and there are seven wicker baskets of leftovers. And then, hours later in the boat, the disciples are hungry themselves and they forgot their own provisions for the journey.
Based on their perspective of the present situation they can, either, lay blame on one another, hint at irresponsibility or just plain dumb planning, or realize that the heart of Jesus is present in their midst and their dilemma. They are all, literally, in the same boat. Jesus has just reminded them not to rely on just external signs, as in the "yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod." Did the disciples include in their "discussing the situation among themselves" the presence of the heart of Jesus. He didn’t leave his heart behind with those 4000; he was there in the boat. In sizing up their dilemma Jesus was there in the center, reminding them that his life provides amidst total sacrifice, impotence, and just not knowing what to do next. "Do you remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets of fragment you gathered up. "
It is the internal perspective that is needed in times of extreme need or doubt. Even when just talking to myself I can forget that He is here. "Do you still not understand?" That question comes from the heart of God in Christ, possessing a faithful, long-suffering, patience with a deeply rooted hope in us. He will provide. Just stay in the boat with Him, please.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, CP, is President of Holy family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama.