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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday's Gospel is from John 6:1-15 and one that is really consoling in so many aspects. First of all, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. But a large crowd followed him so he went up the mountain and sat down with his disciples. When he saw how large the crowd was, he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?"
John says that Jesus was testing Philip "because he himself knew what he was going to do." (Now this may be a distraction that I have each time I read that, but I will share it with you. When I was still a novice, a very wise Religious told us that this was the secret of a good teacher - you must always know what you are going to do. I think that is true for any meeting I need to prepare for or even facilitating a group - you need to know what you are going to do.
Fortunately, Andrew tells Jesus that " there is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good are these for so many?" Then Jesus has the people recline and the Gospel tells us that "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." Here we see that Jesus has the power to feed all and that is just what He is still doing in every Eucharist.
At the end, John tells us that they gathered up twelve wicker baskets full of the fragments from the five barley loaves. I think Jesus wanted to make sure that each of his twelve special friends had a basket because he is going to send them off while he withdraws again to the mountain alone. 
Now, put yourself into this story and see how consoling it is - there is a need, Jesus takes the little they have and takes care of the need. Then, when the crowd would make him king, he withdraws alone. He took the loaves, gave thanks, and then gave them to the people. I think the giving thanks is very important and we need to reflect on how we are doing the same in our own lives. We are called to minister to others.

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