Jesus, my Lord,
Please give me more of the spirit of the Barley Boy. I do not know whether you thanked him, personally,
for his barley loaves and fishes.
Perhaps you nodded his way as you said those words
that meant compassion on the many;
Perhaps you smiled so that he saw that you gave thanks to him,
as well as to your Father;
Perhaps you had some time to speak to him in private,
thanking him in your own words,
while your disciples were collecting all the leftovers…
I don’t know.
I do know he could see that his little gift of kindness
was taken up by you and made into magnificence.
Let me understand my ways of kindness this way.
I sometimes feel unnamed like that boy in your Gospel
The People of my world, so often, have so many needs,
so much discouragement and sickness,
so many reasons to give up.
What good, I wonder sometimes, is the little bit
that I can do for them?
And also, I don’t see your smile, your word of thanks
for my version of the gifts of barley loaves and fishes.
I have to simply know, by faith,
that your great love
is something like my little loving deeds.
And your huge acts of mercy can somehow be understood
a little better
when I, and others, act in kindly ways.
Help me to be more thoughtful of my thoughtfulness.
Make sure I don’t compare my deeds
-which are, really, no big deal-
in such a fashion that I begin to think
I give more than I get in life.
I have a certain number of gifts,
a certain group of friends and family,
a certain range of possibilities for good,
opportunities for kindness.
These are my barley loaves and fishes.
Let me give them as the gifts of my practical Christianity.
And let me, thanks to these,
rejoice more fully
in your greater gift of nourishment to me.