Gospel Reflection: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JULY 26, 2015

 Alleluia, Alleluia.

A great prophet has risen in our midst.

God has visited his people.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gospel of Saint John 6: 1-15

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.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

For the next five weeks we are being given a valuable opportunity to reflect on the sixth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel.  This happens only once every three years.  The sixth chapter centers on Saint John’s Eucharistic teaching.  These five weeks provide a retreat experience for the Church so that we can meditate on and be eternally grateful for the incredible gift of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Gospel setting is the hillsides overlooking the Sea of Galilee.  The context is twofold: the feast of Passover is approaching, and the people have gathered in great numbers because Jesus was healing the sick.  Now the crowd has grown hungry and Jesus asks His disciples where food can be gotten to feed the people.  In this setting and context Jesus demonstrates that He is the source of all nourishment, as He has already shown Himself to be the source of all health.  Truly Jesus Christ is the gift of the fullness of life sent by the Father.

Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and His sharing of this great mystery with us in the Eucharist is already unfolding in His attentiveness to the sick/sinful and hungry nature of the human community.  This is what the disciples must learn.

Only one more element is necessary for the miraculous to take place, that is, the sincere cooperation of the human community.   The brave boy offers/sacrifices his five barley loaves and two fish to the Son of God, and Jesus blesses and multiplies them.  Every time the human and the divine intersect, every time we humbly offer what little we have and place it into the hands of Jesus, miracles happenThe little becomes great, the need becomes satisfied, and the boy becomes a disciple!  God fully knows the inadequacy of the human condition and willingly provides what is needed; all we have to do is acknowledge our need for God and surrender ourselves into His power — they had had their fill ….

Take careful note, in God’s great wisdom, the Son of God, by becoming fully human made Himself dependent on human cooperation in order to draw us into collaboration in His ministry … so that the Divine and the human may continue to work for the salvation of the world.  The Incarnation (the divine united to the human) is perpetuated in the ministry of Christ carried on in and through us, the Church, for the salvation of the world.

The Passover of Jesus has begun.  Jesus, the Lamb of God is offering Himself in granting health and nourishment, and He is teaching us by His example to do the same … Do this in memory of me!

 

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our Web Site for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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