26th July - Sunday Reflection with Fr Terry Tastard

  This week we had the funeral of a well-known and respected member of the congregation who hailed from Dominica in the Caribbean.  He had been a founder member of the Dominican Association in London.  The Association was contacted from Dominica and its help was sought for a handicapped boy.  We were told that the discussion went to and fro without a decision until our parishioner suddenly said:  "Let those who can give, give.  Put me down as one who will give.  No one else can put their hand in your pocket, only you can put your hand in your own pocket." Of course, as soon as he said that, the matter was resolved, and the assistance was found as everybody put their hands in their pockets.
It was a typically generous gesture, and I thought of it when I read the readings today.  They are about giving, and about sharing, and about having enough.  Here is a strange fact:  we have more than any generation before us, but we still feel that we do not have enough.  Most people can remember their parents and their grandparents, and know how life for them was lived with fewer possessions.  They usually had to work harder than we do today.  They usually had to get by with less.  Here we are with more security and with more possessions, and yet, we feel that we do not have enough. 
What would it mean to have enough?  Perhaps that is the question we need to ponder.  In the miracle of the loaves and fishes (John 6.1-15) the action parallels the eucharist.  Food is taken, blessed and shared out, and the food is handled reverently.  In this eucharistic setting Jesus uses the example of the small boy to drive home the lesson that as long as we cling to what we have, we will never have enough.  The boy is prepared to share, and once that happens, there is enough food for everybody, because room has been made for God.  If we cling to our rights, if we insist on our own interest first, then we create a desert for ourselves, because we create a place where nothing can grow.  If everyone thinks only of themselves, then we create a nightmare world of selfishness, fear and self-assertion.  The eucharist challenges us to be different.  It gives us the example of God’s generosity, and challenges us to be generous in our turn.  If God gives us Christ, and Christ gives us himself in communion, then we too need to be generous. 
At the literal level, there is already enough food in the world.  Yet children go to bed hungry at night.  At the spiritual level, there is already enough love in the world, and yet there are people yearning for love.  Sometimes we need to look in our pockets and ask if we can give more.  Sometimes we need to look in our hearts and ask if we can love more.  The voices of cynicism will tell us that it is a drop in the ocean.  Of course:  but the ocean is made up of many drops.  That small boy gave what he could, and it was so little.  We too come to the altar of God and give what we can.  In return we are given so much, we are blessed by God and sent out into the world to do what we can and to give what we can, so that, in the words of the prayer we know so well, God’s will may be done ‘on earth as it is in heaven’.
Fr Terry Tastard is Parish Priest (Pastor) of Holy Trinity, Brook Green, London W6.
He will be taking a break from this reflection for the month of August.

Share this story