Our Sunday gospels right now come from Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. For those new to my blog I don’t often put my homilies on this blog because my homily constantly develops over the week and I don’t keep the written text updated. We read from this chapter for five weeks so here is my homily from last week and I will post this week’s homily in just a minute. I am sharing these homilies to help us realize Jesus is the Bread of Life and what that means.
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
2 Kings 4:42-44
July 29, 2012
Our readings today begin with what we see as a miracle by Elisha. One hundred people are fed with the barley brought by the man from the firstfruits of his harvest. What he brings is his tithe but it would not normally be enough to feed one hundred people. But God is able to take what the man has given and multiple it.
Turning to the gospel, Jesus does something even greater. He feeds five thousand with even less. It is the fourth of seven great signs in John’s Gospel. The feeding of the 5,000 is the only miracle told in all four gospels.
Certainly feeding people who are hungry is important and something to be thankful for. It is important to feed the hungry and we should always be mindful of that.
But I’ve already referred to the feeding as the 4th of 7 great signs in John’s Gospel. The “signs”, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the healing of the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus are all wonderful miracles in and of themselves. But as signs, they serve another person – to show the people, show us who Jesus truly is by showing the power of God working through Him.
And it is not small task at that.
Elisha fed 100 people with the barley. Well, actually Elisha didn’t feed them. God did. But God did it through Elisha to show that Elisha was a true prophet of God.
But this miracle of Elisha is nothing compared to the Feeding of the 5,000. Jesus is not simply another prophet. He is the Son of God himself and thus his miracles are much greater.
Actually, the miracle, the power of God symbolized in the Feeding of the 5,000 is not limited to the physical event of the feeding.
It leads us into the great gift of the Eucharist. Beginning today, we spend the next five weeks readings from chapter six of John’s Gospel known as the Bread of Life Discourse. Over the next few weeks, we will talk about what the Eucharist means to us as the Body of Blood of Christ.
For today, I think we need to think about two things. First, we must remember how the man brought the barley loaves as the firstfruits of the harvest. He recognized all that he had was a gift from God and brought his tithe/contribution to show his appreciation of the gift. I want to emphasis that the tithe came from the firstfruits, not what was left over.
Secondly, we need to mention the theme of “unity” from the second reading. As Christians, we are not just a bunch of separate individuals. We are united through baptism as children of God. We believe in one faith and become one body in Christ.
As Christian stewards, we are given many gifts from God. We have “stuff” because of hard work but ultimately everything we have flows from the gifts God has given us.
If we appreciate what God has given us, we are called to use the gifts to help one another. This means to use our time, talent, and treasure as we are called and able to help one another.
The man with the barley loaves showed his appreciation for what God had given him by given the firstfruits and not just what was left over.
How do you show your appreciation for what God has given you in accord with your means?