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Do What You Can, With What You Have, Where You Are

Homily for Saturday of the 5th Week in Ordinary Time

Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” This simple statement speaks volumes about what this man accomplished despite the fact that he had been a sickly child who was afflicted by asthma. He was so weak as a child that no one thought that he would accomplish anything. Yet by living a strenuous and strict lifestyle, he overcame his health difficulties and went on to become the 25th Vice-President of the United States, the 33rd Governor of the State of New York, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the President of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners, a member of the New York State Assembly, and a hero of the Spanish-American War. While serving as vice-president, President McKinley was assassinated. Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him as 26th President of the United States.

Though expressed in different words, Jesus bids the apostles to do the same thing that Roosevelt said. He doesn’t tell them where to get enough food to feed the crowd. He simply asks, “How many loaves do you have? For Jesus, no matter how little, whatever they have is enough. The disciples collect what they have and offer it to the Lord. Jesus takes it, gives thanks for it, blesses it and distributes it. Moreover, what has been given has now been multiplied, so much so, that there are remnants left over.

In the face of our own challenges, in the face of what seems overwhelming to us, we can imagine that Jesus says something similar to us: “What do you have? Whatever problems we face; whatever misery in the world we wish to alleviate; whatever problems seems so overwhelming that we don’t even know where to begin; whatever it is, it is enough.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.                                      

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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