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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
2 Kings 4:42-44
Ephesians 4:1-6
John 6:1-15
July 26, 2015

The events of our first reading happen in a time of drought so food was scarce and people were hungry.  The man presents twenty barley loaves to Elisha the prophet.  Elisha directs him to give it to the people.

There are one hundred people present so the man says “How can I set this before a hundred people”.  Elisha insists and says there will even be some left over and there is.

Impressive task made possible by God’s grace at work through Elisha.  It would show the people that God cared and would provide for them.

A few centuries later, Jesus comes to the people.  Great crowds were coming to Him because of the signs he had been doing, healing people.

As Jesus looks out at the people He sees a need.  He knows they are hungry.  He also knows how many people are there and what it would take to feed them all.

He turns to ask Philip “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”  Phillip responds by saying that “two hundred days wages” would not be enough to get enough food for all them.  He sees it as an impossible task.

Andrew, on the other hand, says, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good are these for so many?”  In human terms, you can’t find that many people with five loaves and two fish but it shows hope on the part of Andrew.  Could there be something Jesus could do?

Of course Jesus can help.  Jesus has them sit down and every single person receives enough to eat and there is some left over.  In fact, there is more left over than they started with.

God provides in abundance.

Food is important.  If you tell a starving person that God loves them and then leave them to starve, they aren’t likely to believe you but physical food is not all that God offers.  In our psalm today we hear “The hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs.”

Jesus feeds the five thousand but that was not the end.  This passage marks the beginning of what is known as “The Bread of Life Discourse.”  Jesus will go on to speak more about the bread that we truly need.  Starting today, we spend five weeks hearing this discourse to help us understand how Jesus is the Bread of Life for us that we receive in the Eucharist.

We will talk more about the Real Presence in the coming weeks but for today I think we would deal to think about today’s psalm verse.  Jesus feeds us.  What does it mean for Jesus to feed us?  Jesus answers all our needs.  What do we see as our “needs”?  What type of need comes to mind first?  Food?  Clothing?  How about faith?

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