The Boy & The Loaves: Three Classes of Men

Try to picture the scene. Jesus is surrounded by thousands. There is not enough for these poor people to eat. The solutions can be found in one simple way—the little boy with the loaves and fishes.

God often uses little people, with little to offer, but with large and generous hearts to carry out extraordinary miracles.   This short meditation is on the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes that the little boy gave to Jesus.  Following are different reactions the boy might have had towards the loaves and fishes that he brought. Of the many options, which of these do you feel is your attitude?  What attitude would you like to assume?

What might be some of the option that this little boy could have chosen to do with his loaves and fishes?

  1. Ran away. As he saw Andrew approaching he could have simply ran away and avoided the question.
  1. Hide. Another option might have been to take a blanket that his parents had and simply to have hidden the loaves and the fishes underneath the covers.
  1. Lied. He could have said that these were not his but belonged to somebody else and they were not for him to give away, given that they did not really belong to him.
  1. Look for someone else who had food. This could have been another option—to avoid the issue by pointing at others that might have hidden food that they could share.
  1. Selfishly refuse to give up his food. Then there was another option: No! The boy could have simply said “No” and that these belonged to him and he had no intention of relinquishing anything. Maybe the boy would reason: “Well I came prepared and you did not; you should suffer the consequences of your lack of intelligence and foresight.
  1. Yes, but half and half. Here is another option: give away some, maybe 50% of what he had. At least in this there is a sign of good will!
  1. Give it all away. As we know from the Scriptural passage, the boy did none of the above, but rather he gave all, every morsel of the bread and the fishes in their totality.

Qualities to be admired in this little boy

  1. Generosity. The little boy would not delay in giving; he would not give only a part of what he had. He did not give begrudgingly, half-heartedly and with a frown on his face or thinking what he would get in return.
  1. Trust.  He did not worry about tomorrow or even the possibility of going hungry. He just gave and trusted.
  1. Lover for Jesus. Actually he gave all to Andrew, but was really giving all to Jesus.

What about Your Heart?

Pray over these questions:

  1. Running? Are you and your conscience running away from God?
  1. Hiding? Is there something in your life that you are hiding from God, your Confessor, and your conscience?
  1. Lying? Are you lying to yourself and to others in one way or another? Are you running away from the truth?
  1. Pointing to other? Do you have the habit of pointing to others and running away from your own responsibilities? Are you aware of the fact that actions have consequences?
  1. Selfishness or egotism? Are you simply selfish? Do you simply not want to give what God is asking you to give. Do you have your hands and fists clenched and God cannot get into them?
  1. Half-hearted? Or is it such that you are giving but only half-heartedly, by half-measures> In your heart of hearts, you know that God is asking you for much more and you can give it but you do not want to leave your comfort-zone, your Linus’ blanket, your nesting place?

Magnanimity—This key Ignatian word, that can be found in Annotation 5 in the Spiritual Exercises, means to have a great soul, open for great things, and willingness to give all to God. Give all that you have, and trust God!

image: Tiberiu Stan /

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Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary and the author of Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary and From Humdrum to Holy. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.

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