Sunday, July 30, 2006

Reflection on the Gospel: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

These are just some ideas from the homily given today by Deacon Jim about faith as it is applied in the Gospel reading. I thought he had some good insight to share.

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

Look first at the large crowd of people. Did they really have faith, or did they think that Jesus could do something for them. It says "they saw the signs", but does not the Gospel virtues teach us that great is the faith of him who cannot see but still believes.

Next look at the answer Philip gives. In the presence of the Son of God, and he worries about the money. He isn't sure that even God Himself could feed these people.

Andrew has the further insight of the food from the child. He knows about that food, and yet, when he presents this to Jesus he qualifies his statement by saying that that's not enough food. We see in the first reading that through the intercession of Elisha the people are fed, and yet Andrew thinks that with God Incarnate the people could not be fed.

The child is the one in this parable who shows faith in Jesus Christ. He offers his fish and bread to Jesus knowing that things which are given to God are returned multiplied and running over with bounty. The faith of the child in this story shows true devotion to God.

Of the characters in this story, which would we identify as? Do we question God's ability to handle our financial situation such that His child would go hungry? Do we offer ourselves and our talents to God for His purposes, but doubt His ability to use us for whatever He needs? Or do we have the faith of the child, giving to God everything we have, including our entire selves and our heart filled by His love, knowing that His greatness will return our cup running over with fruits of the Cross and Resurrection?


Blogger Brad said...

Good post Sean...

3:54 PM  

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