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Doctrines & Morals

You open wide your hands

2 Kgs 4:42-44, Eph. 4:1-6, Jn 6:1-15. On this Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B, the Church invites us to be united in the essentials and different in non-essentials of life. Two themes emerge from today's readings: the first is the abundant and gracious feeding of God’s people and the second is the call to unity. These themes reminds us that God’s graciousness extends beyond our normal expectations and that same graciousness is the source which can draw us together. The first reading describes the multiplication of loaves during the time of the prophet Elisha and the Psalmist reinforces the theme with the Responsorial refrain: “You open wide your hand, O Lord, and grant our desires.” In today's second reading, Paul stresses the need for unity among believers. As he writes from his imprisonment, he urges the faithful to remember that they have been called by God to live in a way which surpasses their former lives. They are to live out all characteristics of their being one: humble, gentle, patient and peaceful. 

In today's Gospel, we have an example of that kind of apparent powerlessness. Jesus and the disciples are faced with a very large crowd of hungry people in a deserted place. They need to be fed and the resources to feed them do not appear to be there. The sense of being overwhelmed by the task that needs doing is audible in the comments that Jesus’ disciples made. Philip states: "Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each." Andrew comments that there is a small boy present with five barley loaves and two fish, but he asks rather despairingly: "What is that between so many?" The huge need outstrips the available resources. Yet, in that situation, Jesus made them do whatever they can with whatever resources they have at their disposal. Jesus encouraged them not to despair; they tackle the situation as best as they can. There was only enough food there for a simple meal for a poor family. Yet, he was willing to part with his barley loaves and fish; he handed them over to Jesus and, in some mysterious way, Jesus was able to work with the young boy’s generous gift to feed everyone. In and through us the Lord God want to use our tiniest efforts to perform His greatest works. The Lord wants us to be generous with what we have today if He is to continue to feed the various hungers of today’s crowd, whether it is the basic hunger for food, or the hunger for shelter, a home, friendship, community, acceptance or the deeper spiritual hunger for God. Today, Jesus teaches us never to underestimate the significance of even the tiniest efforts we make to be generous with the resources we have at our disposal, whether it is resources of money, time or some ability.

May the Lord help us to work for the unity of all who call upon the Lord and our life be a model of the love of God! Amen!! Good morning and happy Sunday!!!

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