Being Full is Not Always Being Filled Up

July 29, 2018

Have you ever been to a restaurant and felt the portions of food were very meager?  What do we usually say?  We might not have gotten our money’s worth.  Supersizing changed all that.  For just a little more you can add extra to your order at some fast food establishments.  Names like the Big Gulp have increased our definition of what it means to be full and what is our money’s worth.  At times we feel the portions are too big.  A tomahawk cut rib eye is enough for three to four meals.  All in all portion sizes have changed; just look at candy bars.  Either the price goes up or the size shrinks.  Too often we believe we must have room for dessert even when we are really satiated.  Overeating makes us feel full and lethargic.  Sometimes we are very sick the next day from overeating.  In the Gospel today, the Lord in the great miracle of the loaves and fishes feeds the five thousand and in St. John’s account it tells us that they all had their fill.  It is into this doorway I would like to explore the nourishment of the soul.

In this account it says they all had had their fill.  What does it mean to be full?  It couldn’t be about portion size.  It had everything to do with what the kingdom is about.  The miracle begins with the expectation of those who were following Jesus.  They were looking. They were searching.  The fact that all of them had their fill and all experienced leftover fragments is the real miracle.  It means everyone received not only what they were looking for but more that they could share.  This is a powerful testimony to who Jesus is.  He longed for them to grow in faith.  He longed for them to share what they had.  Moved by His example of blessing the food and distributing it to them, they began to do the same.  They began to spiritually reflect on what was happening. They began to share what they heard in their own way from their own perspective.  In the sharing they learned more about the power of God and how it changes lives.  Each was changed in a different way.  Each was offered a new way of looking at the world.  It was a powerful miracle because they got to enter in and become a part of the miraculous process. They did so by sharing the mystery of what they heard and what they experienced.  They did so by realizing blessings do happen, prayers are heard and hope is alive.  It had nothing to do with portion size; they all had had their fill.

Being full in the Lord doesn’t mean you have a lot.  We experienced an impoverished area of the Philippines and yet we saw happy children excited to have their fill.  We saw children wait in line to be fed just happy with what we scooped onto their plates, never complaining about portion size or that it was too hot or not hot enough.  They filled us more than we ever provided for them.  It is an amazing paradox.  We thought we were doing the work of the Gospel and being missionaries, and actually they were doing the work of the Gospel and allowing us to experience their trust, hope and joy in God.

The Lord wants us to be full, but the definition coming from Him is different.  To be full is to share whatever we have.  To be full is to realize the more we crave usually has nothing to do with ourselves as much as it has to do with others.

May we find fulfillment in the One who died of the cross to show us the way

Reverend John J. Ouper