Last Sunday the Gospel told us about Jesus feeding the large crowd with a few loaves and fishes. What an amazing event! Yet, in today’s Gospel, the same crowd asks Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?” What more could they ask for? It is not an everyday occurrence that you are part of the feeding of a large crowd with so little. There were so many “signs” that Jesus performed so that “seeing should help them believe.” Today, we have to be careful that we don’t miss the “signs” that Jesus continues to perform through our acts of charity, our concern for the poor and neglected, our speaking up for those who have no voice, our ability to heal. These “signs” are not done on a big stage, but in our day to day contact with our sisters and brothers. Jesus is the bread of life that gives us the ability to do “the works of God.”

Next Saturday, August 11, is the Feast of St. Clare of Assisi. She lived from 1194 to 1253 in the town of Assisi and knew St. Francis even though they came from different classes – she from nobility and he from the merchant class. All through her life, she lived a simpler life than other noble women. She was inspired by St. Francis’ preaching and we remember her quiet, but dramatic departure from her family to live a simple life in the style of life that St. Francis was showing so clearly. A woman who had more than most people wanted to live a life with less than most people had at that time. Her sisters and mother soon joined her and the Poor Clare way of life continues today. In our desire to live a simpler life today, she can be our inspiration.

-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.