not just supplies.
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
Dictionaries tell us that provision means items of goods or supplies, especially food, obtained for future use. It can also mean money set aside for a future event.
I grew up in Buffalo. Along William Street were the former meat packing plants that supplied food for much of the nation. I remember riding along in the car as we passed the various “provision” companies that remained: Elk Provisions, Camellia (Cichocki) Provisions – I get hungry just thinking about these places. Locally we may have passed Pede Brothers Italian Food or Orlev Provision Company.
Now we are ready to run out and get some great Polish or Italian food. If we visit these provision houses we are well aware of the requirement going in – we have to pay for the things we need.
Today’s gospel message reminds us that God’s provision is quite different.
The Church calls God’s provision grace. In First Communion and Confirmation class we discuss God’s grace in detail. Our children and youth learn that grace is God’s help given to us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation. Grace is free to us – it is both a request and an offering of God’s love held out for us to freely accept and use. We can accept or reject this gift. If we chose to accept it, we fulfill God’s request and He gives us more and more grace to help us toward perfection.
That is all kind of theological. In its essence grace is God’s provision, His providing for us as our true Heavenly Father and Brother. God loves us so much that He wants to be in every part of our lives. He wants to be with us and in us so that He may provide for us in all areas of life. Scripture draws beautiful pictures of this provision. God caring for the lilies of the field and birds of the air – yet how much more important we are than they.
Our Father is there with grace at hand – all for us whether we are in a really good place or in a bad stage of life where we just don’t know where to turn. He is there with provision in hand if we are well off or in over our heads financially or emotionally or spiritually. He is there providing in the midst of noise, quiet, or loneliness.
We are called to acknowledge and recognize God’s provision even though we might not know exactly how that provision may come. His grace, His provision is more than temporary supplies that come and go and can even spoil. His love will never spoil or destroy – only save.