Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 26, 2015
Reading 1 2 Kgs 4:42-44
Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
Reading 2 Eph 4:1-6
Alleluia Lk 7:16
Gospel Jn 6:1-15
Homily July 25, 2015
Psalm 145 verses 15 & 16 state, “The eyes of all look hopefully to you; you give them their food in due season. You open wide your hand & satisfy the desire of every living thing.” If God is doing this for us then why are we not satisfied? Sometimes we are looking for things that cannot & will not satisfy us. Sometimes we are so preoccupied with having more & better that we forget that we already have all that we need to live and be happy.
When Elisha received 20 barley loaves he did not save it for himself but shared it with 100 people. Evidently it was not thought to be enough to feed a hundred hungry people but it actually filled them up with some leftover.
The gospel account wins the prize as scripture’s number-one picnic. It is recorded six times in the New Testament: twice each in Matthew and Mark, once in Luke and once in John. John does not say that the people were hungry though one might surmise that they would be hungry after following Jesus. A crowd of 5,000 would be considerable; imagine ten to twenty times the number we have at this Mass gathered together to listen to Jesus. Jesus tests Philip with the question, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Phillip gets out his calculator—NOT—but he does do a quick survey of the crowd and estimated the cost of feeding them at a day’s wage for every 25! Andrew says there is a boy who has five barley loaves & two fish but he knew there was not enough to begin to share it with others—I take it that the boy was willing to share what he had with others. The five barley loaves & two fish add up to seven morsels—a number that symbolizes completeness—though it does not look like it could ever be enough for this crowd. Jesus has the crowd sit down & he then gives thanks and distributed the loaves and the fish to the people—it was an all you can eat buffet!!
No evangelist describes how the bread multiplied. The how of it is not the point John wants to make. The point is that God met the hunger of the people by beginning with what a child was willing to share. Surely Jesus could have created food from nothing but he used what was available. This helps me to reflect on how God uses our gifts, our talents for the good of others. We can respond like Phillip & Andrew that we are overwhelmed by the challenge before us or we can respond like the boy by offering what we have in trust that it will be enough. Sometimes when I look at all the needs we have in the parish I can be overwhelmed but then I just put it in God’s hands and trust that we will have an answer that will be revealed one day.
As Messiah, Jesus always draws on the resources of the people, calling forth their potential to help create the abundance God desires for everyone. What resource, gift, or talent do you have that God can use to make the world a better place. Maybe our “five loaves & two fish” looks insignificant but when we join it to God’s plan it can make all the difference and even feed the 5,000! !