Readings for July 29
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Kings 4:42-44; Ephesians 4:106; John 6:1-15
We have herd or read the stories of Jesus feeding thousands of people so often that we are probably not surprised to hear about this miracle again. (The story in each of the Gospels with slightly different details.) We may even be bored by this great miracle.
The people who followed Jesus around the Sea of Galilee had seen him work cures for the sick, and were hoping for more signs of his power. Apparently, they didn’t stop to think that they were getting far away from home and home cooking.
Jesus was probably the most practical person there. He could see that the crowd would be hungry. But it seems as if he were almost teasing Philip and Andre about how much food they had for such a crowd.
Do we notice that he said the people should recline? That’s how people ate then, no tables and chairs.
Then the Lord took the loaves, gave thanks, which is to say he blessed the food, broke the loaves and gave food to the people. Do we recognize the gestures of the Eucharist?
This story is one of those wonderful times in Scripture when the action of God is shown to us. God cares for human needs and the Son of God feeds us with his own body. The Scriptures are full of hints of the ways God enters our lives to meet our needs for nourishment, so that we can carry on our physical life and our spiritual life, our life-sustaining attachment to our creator and Redeemer.
A sort of advance echo shows up in the first reading today. The prophet Elisha knew that the food, which was provided would be enough and more than enough. The hand of the Lord fed the people.
Of course, there are hundreds of people who do not get enough to eat today, while others have far more than enough. Do we ask God to step in and feed them or does God ask us to share the wealth of our planet, so that everyone will have food to eat?
Do we who are fed with the Eucharist receive a call to be providers of food, both physical and spiritual, for people on our earth who are living on less than can sustain their lives?
Ursuline Sister Jeanne Hamilton lives in Wilmington.