1 Kings 12:26-32; 13:33-34
In Greek mythology, King Midas loved gold so much that when the god Dionyssus granted him any wish, he asked that everything he touched be turned to gold. Dionyssus told him to think about this very carefully, foreseeing exactly what this wish meant, but Midas was determined.
While Jeroboam, in our first reading, is greedy for power and respect rather than wealth per se, his story of deceit and cunning to win the Israelites led him to fashion golden calves to worship, rather than the God of Israel.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus turns power and wealth on its head. There is no need to seek after riches and glory, for our generous, creative and merciful God provides everything we need. Seven loaves and a few small fish are offered to feed four thousand – nothing really, so little amongst so many – yet, blessed and broken by Jesus, all are fed with seven baskets left over.
Midas in his great wealth and excess, greedily asked for more. He only realised his folly when he could no longer smell the rose he touched and eat the food he touched. Then, most importantly, the daughter he loved so much was turned into a golden statue. The curse is lifted once Midas understands what is truly important and shares his opulence with his people.
Jesus’ instruction is simple. Take what little we have, offer it to our God of abundance, share it amongst all, and all will be satisfied.
Let us recognise our gifts today and always be generous with them.
Angela Marquis works for the Hobart Passionists at St Joseph’s in Tasmania, with WATAC (Women and the Australian Church), and as a primary school chaplain.