As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.”
When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Jesus is not afraid to get dirty. He makes mud with his spit and smears it in the eyes of the blind. He touches the bodies of lepers. He stands in the stench of a man four days dead. And, in these seemingly sullied, unwashed acts, amazing things happened.
It might seem that no one shares his apparent supernatural abilities. Yet, when five thousand gathered with nothing to eat, Jesus invited his friends to participate in the making of a miracle. He blessed the loaves and fish, and then, with the hands of his disciples, multiplied them for all. His prayer needed their hands to become a reality.
So too does Christ need our hands, dirty or not. With Christ beside us, let us feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned. In our love of Christ and each other, let us help and heal the world.
—Eric Immel, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He also serves as a Jesuit vocation promoter and is a prolific and creative author.
Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks, compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
—St. Teresa of Avila