Your word is a light to my path
What a marvellous thing possibility is! Possibility, vision, dreams, imagination, have brought humanity to this moment. There is a wonderful and well-known story about possibility in the Gospels. It is told in all four canonical Gospels. Great crowds had followed Jesus to listen to him. They sat on the hillside and soaked in his teachings and challenges, drawn to his compassion and healing. It was late in the day and Jesus was aware they were hungry. He and his disciples had five loaves of bread and two fish. Meagre offering in the face of such need, but it was all that was needed. Thanks were given and the blessing said and they all ate and were filled. Twelve baskets of left-overs were gathered.
What a feast, what abundance! And it began with what seemed utterly inadequate. How apt it is that such a story of possibility, the invitation into possibility, should involve feeding. We are all hungry. There are those in our world who are physically hungry and we, like Jesus and his disciples recognising that need, must ask ourselves what we can do. There are many other kinds of hunger, sometimes visible and sometimes hidden beneath what looks like success, power and achievement. There is the hunger to be known, to be valued, to be recognised for who we are, to be listened to. There is the hunger for security, safety and self-confidence. There is the hunger for acceptance, to be forgiven and the hunger to forgive. There is the hunger for a second chance, or a third …. There are so many ways we long to be fed. Each of us has a place of hunger. And there are so many ways we can feed the world. Injustice, poverty, fear, homelessness, exploitation, are all around us. People are hungry. Too often we hesitate to take the first step because our resources seem inadequate and the hunger so great.
Over four hundred years ago a young woman set out to feed the world. Her resources were meagre – she was but a woman in a world and in a Church in which women had little public worth. She suffered ill health, she was criticised by the Church she loved and sought to serve, she was misunderstood and ridiculed and she lived in a time in which allegiance to the very faith she held so dear was fraught with danger. But she had a vision. She had a vision of what was possible and she gave herself wholeheartedly to that dream. That woman of course was Mary Ward. Her dream was bigger than the dreams of most women of her day, yet she strode out. This dream would not let her give up when she faced opposition and failure.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator