On today’s Gospel:

For me, it all comes down to the fragments.

Every time I encounter the Gospel about the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, I wait for it. In this reading from Mark, it’s so clear and simple: “they picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets.” They could have discarded what wasn’t used. But they didn’t. Nothing was allowed to go to waste.

That be one of the most consoling and hope-filled passages in all of Scripture. Jesus wasn’t just being tidy. He wasn’t being “green.” The wondrous, miraculous fact is: nothing, to God, is too small. God uses everything, and everyone. Every fragment of us. His eye is on the sparrow — and the bread crumb.

And why not? He would later choose to leave a permanent, enduring remembrance of himself — his body and blood, soul and divinity — in a piece of bread we receive as something little more than a fragment. A crumb. The greatest becomes the smallest, and we are given a gift beyond measure, beyond price.

Today’s Gospel should not only remind us of Christ’s extraordinary ability to multiply and make limitless what seems, at the moment, limited; it also teaches us that even when we feel we are worthless, that we are mere crumbs in the eyes of the world, God sees something more.

Every fragment is a treasure. Every piece has value. And God won’t let any of it be tossed aside.

Originally published February 15, 2020 in the monthly devotional Give Us This Day, published by Liturgical Press.