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17th Sunday of the Year – B  

17th Sunday of the Year – B

 

Dear friends in Christ,

 

Today’s readings are about God feeding the hungry crowd. During the famine, a man brought to Elisha twenty barley loaves. Elisha said to his servant, “Give it to the  people to eat.” The servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” In John’s Gospel,    before the crowd of more than five thousand hungry men, Jesus inquired, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Philp answered, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” Then Jesus took five loaves and two fish from the boy to feed the crowd of five thousand.

In John’s Gospel, the miraculous multiplication is a “sign” revealing who Jesus is, that is, his divine reality. Jesus feeds us who believe in him, bodily and spiritually, and he feeds us personally and in abundance.

Often in the Scriptures food is a symbol of all our needs and our dependence on God. Isaiah wrote, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wine.” Jesus himself talks about the Kingdom of God like a glorious feast where all our needs will be satisfied. Mahatma Gandhi, a devout Hindu, once remarked, “There are so many hungry people, God can only come to them in bread.”

Mark tells that it was Jesus who took the initiative to feed the hungry crowd. He will take that same initiative with us, if we simply reveal our true hungers to him. The simple statement that Jesus loves and cares is not of itself going to solve our problem or ease our pain. There must be a conversion experience. So few Catholics nowadays seem to have this conversion experience. They have heard about Jesus or read about Jesus, but they have never met Jesus. They may know about him, but they don’t know him.

At each Eucharist we are recognize Jesus in the Breaking of Bread. In turn, let us become breads broken for one another. When we have the conversion experience necessary to believe this, then we too, like the crowd, will want to make Jesus king in our hearts and in the hearts of others.

 

Fr. Joe