Gospel Reflection July 29 – Deacon Frank

Sunday, July 29

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6: 1 – 15

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.

This Sunday we will take a break from St. Mark’s gospel and begin the next few weeks hearing the Bread of Life discourse from St. John gospel where there is plenty of food for everyone.

All who have come to hear Jesus found themselves fed and satisfied. The disciples did not know how Jesus would do it. They panicked at the thought of how much it might cost, and where the money would come from. However, Jesus knew from the start that his Father would answer his prayer. From the meager offering of the small boy with the five loaves and two fish comes an abundance of food with generous leftovers . As the prophet Elisha will say in the first reading, “…God always provides and there is more than enough.”

The feeding of the 5000 explains in symbolic form how God cares for and tends the flock. Jesus wants to demonstrate to the people, by having filled their bellies and still having more leftovers, that God’s providential care extends beyond satisfying physical hunger. God may be the provider of nutritious sustenance, but God is also the one who satisfies the spirit of humankind by pouring out love and mercy on all.

As you reflect once again on this wonderful passage from John’s gospel, ask yourself these two questions:
Are you aware of the abundance of God’s love and mercy?
Are you willing to share this mercy and love – or do you find yourself annoyed at such generosity and the responsibility that goes with recognizing this mercy and love?

The feeding of the 5000, and the revelation of Jesus as the Bread of Life, can help you reflect on where you are in your awareness and appreciation of God’s constant outpouring of grace. May you be grateful for how the bread of life is calling you to deepen your constant awareness of wonder and awe at all God is doing for the whole of creation.

Deacon Frank Iannarino