17th Sunday Ordinary Time

In today’s Scripture we’re here from both the Old and New Testament that God feeds the people. On a very basic level this has meaning. And yet it goes beyond basic physical sustenance. There is a corporal, bodily element to it but this act has a deep spiritual aspect as well.

Think about how you are when you are hungry. Are you at your best? The answer is no. Our thinking starts to become impaired to a certain point. If we are hungry enough we can’t think clearly. We become very irritable. There is a modern phrase to explain this that “we are hangry”. That means that we are hungry and we are angry at the same time, Have you seen the clever Snickers candy bar commercial about this? “You’re just not yourself when you’re hungry.” So this is a common experience that we all know to certain degree. We have food, we eat, and we are made better

On a very basic level when God provides food to feed the people, the people are made better. The simple yet profound message is that God makes us better . It is important to note that in both circumstances – in the days of Elisha in the Old Testament and in the days of Jesus in the New Testament – both peoples did not expect God to be able to do this. Both peoples did not see how this would possibly happen. God exceeded their expectations in both circumstances. That says a lot for us in our own relationship with God. Do we doubt God? Do we somehow limit what God can do in our own minds? Are we open to God taking care of us?

Our psalm today, psalm 145 reminds us the hand of the Lord feeds us, He answers all our needs.

In my family I have a phrase that I use with my kids. I constantly say “food is love “. What I mean by this is that when we share food we share love. I will have good food and immediately one of the kids will appear out of nowhere and want to have whatever I am eating. And so I always share with them. This is especially true for my son Jude. I always give my food to Jude. Our one time family vacation to Universal studios in Florida, I gave almost my entire meal plan to my son. And we do the same in our families. Don’t we? We celebrate family gatherings with food. Whether it is around a campfire or a kitchen table we celebrate being together with food. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduation parties – all these moments are punctuated and celebrated with food. So think about that phrase. Food is love. It’s how we are cared for. And God feeds us.

No wonder that God chose food as the way he makes himself present in our world. He comes to us in the Eucharist. He comes to us in the form of food.

Let’s think about the words of Scripture today. St Paul reminds us that we are “to live in a manner worthy of our calling” So we not only receive, but we give. What are we called to give? The answer to that depends on each one of us. We each have different gifts to offer others. Think of yourself as the bread given by God to feed others. That’s an image of course. Some of you do this literally because of your job. However think of it on a spiritual level in terms of relationship.

How do you feed the soul of others? What is the “soul food” that you provide? Let me give you an example. You can feed another person’s soul by giving them encouragement. You can feed another person’s soul by giving them words of affirmation. You can feed another’s soul by giving them words of gratitude. You can feed another’s soul by giving them testimony to God‘s work in your life. You can feed another’s soul by telling them what makes them special. You can even feed another’s soul be bearing with them, (as St. Paul urges us to do in today’s second reading. He knows that at times being with others can be difficult).

Think of the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel. He wanted all the fragments collected so that “nothing will be wasted “. Now think of that applied to yourself and your gifts. He wants none of our gifts to be wasted. We are “to live according to the manner of our call”. We are all called to be ambassadors for Christ. We are all called to give what we have. What will you give to another today? Will it be patience? Will it be your attention? Will it be your encouragement? Will it be your gratitude? Will it be your love? Will it be your appreciation for who they are?

Today let us be open to how God feeds our soul. – how God takes care of us. And let us in turn not just receive but also give of ourselves to others. Provide the soul food that others so desperately need. And together with our God – let us feed and love one another.

First Reading
2 Kgs 4:42-44

They shall eat and there shall be some left over.

A reading from the second Book of Kings

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
   twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
   and fresh grain in the ear.
Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.”
But his servant objected,
   “How can I set this before a hundred people?”
Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.
For thus says the LORD,
   ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’”
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
   as the LORD had said.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R. :

R. (cf. 16) The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
   and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
   and speak of your might.

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
   and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
   and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

The LORD is just in all his ways
   and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
   to all who call upon him in truth.

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Second Reading
Eph 4:1-6

One body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
   urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
   with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
   bearing with one another through love,
   striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
   one body and one Spirit,
   as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
   one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
   one God and Father of all,
   who is over all and through all and in all.

Acclamation before the Gospel
Lk 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

A great prophet has risen in our midst.
God has visted his people.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jn 6:1-15

He distributed as much as they wanted to those who were reclining.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
   because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
   and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes
   and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
   he said to Philip,
   “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
   because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
   “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
   for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
   Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
   “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
   but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
   and distributed them to those who were reclining,
   and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
   “Gather the fragments left over,
   so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
   and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
   from the five barley loaves
   that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
   “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
   to make him king,
   he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

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