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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Bread of Life

“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” (John 6: 8-13).

A crowd followed Jesus because of the miracles they had seen him perform. It was late in the day and there were thousands to feed, seemingly inadequate provisions and not enough money to purchase more. After Jesus had offered thanks for the meager food at hand, there was more than enough for everyone to be filled and even some left over. All those present were astonished.

Over and over again, Jesus shows his apostles and us that it is not enough to teach or preach or work miracles. Taking responsibility for the hungry and those less fortunate is paramount in sharing in the reign of God. When people are free from worry about having enough food and adequate shelter, they can more readily receive the message of salvation. Jesus provided bread for their hunger, and his life was bread for their lives. We are called to do and be the same.

Has there been a situation in which you felt overburdened or one in which something seemingly impossible was being asked of you? How did you respond?

Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available at the RENEW International store

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One Response to “17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Bread of Life”

  1. Dan Garofalo says:

    The story of the loaves and fishes is familiar to every child, but with Pope Frances getting ready to visit America and share the environmental message of Laudato Si, our attention is drawn to the end of the Gospel. After the crowd had ate their fill, Jesus “said to his disciples, ‘Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.’ ”
    Being a good steward of God’s bounty is a lesson from the Gospel that is easy to overlook, but Jesus actions from 2000 years ago resonate with us today in this time of ecological challenge. How can we all emulate Jesus in being less wasteful and more considerate in our daily lives?

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