Sure: I’ve seen the ‘multiplication’ miracle happen on more than one occasion, but it never gets old.
Twice a year, in fact, we go around to our communities begging for homemade cookies – to keep the ‘bottomless bowls’ filled during our Kairos Weekend retreats at Menard Correctional Center. Twice a year, our friends, neighbors – and quite a few perfect strangers – respond to the request. They pour out love (in the form of sugar, flour, butter and chocolate chips), and we have the happy duty of packing up all those delicious tidbits to bring into the prison.
We’re talking a LOT of cookies: 40 bins’ worth, something on the order of 19,000 cookies in all. And that’s just at Menard. Kairos retreats will take place at 15 or 16 other prisons this coming weekend…so the total could easily top 320,000 cookies across the US.
It’s an impressive haul.
It’s humbling, too, to serve at the center of this ‘multiplication’ miracle. To be a Kairos team member, acting as Christ’s hands and feet – to pack the bins…and tote ‘em in…and then to have the chance to speak the name of Jesus to the men we’ve been called to serve.
The cookies – and the generous community spirit they represent – make it a joy to carry out this duty. We are amazed to find ourselves, not just as spectators, but as participants in a familiar gospel story:
The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread.
We are filled with wonder, too, at the present-tense mystery of the Risen Lord. Jesus…who has conquered the grave…and who appears in our midst in human form, in glorified form, but still hungry. Very much, still one of us.
While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
What a blessing it is…to be able to answer this request…with an abundant and overflowing ‘Yes!’
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.