HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR B
2 Kgs. 4:42-44
Eph 4 :1-6
John 6 :1-15
THEME: THE LORD PROVIDES IN ABUNDANCE
Beloved in Christ, from this Sunday till the next five sundays our gospel reading will be taken from John 6, the section that deals with Jesus’ teaching about the bread of life. This is aimed at helping us to deepen our understanding of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
The theme today was influenced by the fact that both the first reading and the gospel talk about the multiplication of bread in feeding a crowd. And also to drive home the point that God in producing the abundance of food used what humanity regarded as insignificant.
Beloved, John says the people who followed Jesus did so because they had seen the ‘SIGNS’, Jesus had performed on the sick. And Jesus condemned this attitude in John 4:48 “UNLESS YOU PEOPLE SEE SIGNS, YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE”for the following of Jesus goes beyond the signs and wonders that so many people are seeking. Interestingly, John refers to these wonders as signs in his gospel, reminding us that they are pointers to Jesus Christ and not an end in itself. But unfortunately, most Christians today have made these signs and wonders the center or the end of their relationship with God and for this reason they move from church to church and also allow things to be done to them in the name of these signs and wonders.
Again, John intentionally stated that today’s incidence took place around passover time to explain the link between the passover meal and the Eucharist. Also in the question to Philip, Jesus asked “WHERE” but Philip deviated by answering in terms of “COST” and concluded it was impossible. However, Jesus proved that in God there is abundance of life and food.
Beloved, on receiving the bread , Jesus gave thanks and distributed them. And Pope Francis in “LAUDATO SI (pg 227)” urges a return to the practice of giving ‘thanks’ to God before and after meals. And says that blessing no matter how brief, reminds us of our dependence on God. Also the attitude of the small boy whose food was used by Jesus cannot be ignored in our world of selfishness and the inability to share what we have. Though, we ordinarily might have considered it insignificant, Jesus showed us that in God there is nothing insignificant. Hence, this explained why Jesus ordered them to gather the left over which in the end filled twelve baskets.
Beloved in Christ, Paul in the second reading also invites us to live in a manner worthy of our calling, and this is explained in Col. 1:10, as living in a manner worthy of the Lord and in Romans 12:15, weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.
My dear friend, the church is today reminding us of two very important Christian obligations and one teaching, namely; introducing others to Jesus like Andrew as well as sharing what we have like the small boy and the fact that the Lord provides for our needs in abundance ; a reason to wait on him.