Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

July 26, 2021

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 

July 25, 2021 

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta 

Saint Thomas the Apostle, Glen Mills, PA 


Second Book of Kings 

Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18 

Ephesians 4:1-6 

John 6:1-15 


Sisters and brothers, we can sometimes find ourselves in situations beyond our abilities to cope, when the gap between the resources at our disposal (money, food, logistical items) and the issue to be dealt with (health issues or employment) seems too great.  We feel a sense of helplessness which drains us of the energy to tackle the problem.  The challenge seems simply too great to be faced.   

In today’s Gospel narrative we have an example of that kind of apparent powerlessness.  Jesus and the disciples are faced with a very large crowd of hungry people in a deserted place.  They need to be fed and the resources to feed them don’t appear to be there.  The sense of being “overwhelmed” by the task that needs doing is obvious by the comments made by the disciple Phillip.  He says, “Two hundred days wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”  Andrew then comments that there is a boy present with five barley loaves and two fish and adds, “But what good are these for so many?”   

The Lord Jesus was just as aware as His disciples of the enormous task ahead and the obvious lack of resources.  However, He did not share their sense of hopelessness.  He saw that in some way the small boy with the five barley loaves and two fish was the “key” to feeding the huge crowd.  We cannot be certain what exactly happened on that day but it seems certain that the boy with his few barley loves and fish played a very important role.  I suspect that there was only enough food there for a simple meal for a poor family yet the boy was willing to hand what had over to Jesus.  Our Lord was then able to work with the boy’s generous gift in order to feed and satisfy everyone.   

The feeding of the multitude is one of the very few stories about Jesus that is to be found in all four Gospels.  All four evangelists saw a connection between what happened in the wilderness on that day and what happened at the Last Supper, and also what happens at Holy Mass during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Just as Jesus transformed a boy’s simple gift of five barely loaves and two fish into a feast for thousands, He transforms our simple gifts of bread and wine into a spiritual feast for all; the bread of life and the cup of salvation.  The way the Lord works in the Eucharist is how He works in the rest of our lives.  He takes the little we offer to Him and by means of it, in the words of Saint Paul, “Is abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.”   

Question of the Day:  How will you share your gifts from God with those who are hungry and in need?   

Prayer:  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all His benefits.”  Psalm 103 (102):3.     


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