17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 29, 2018 (Thoman)
II Kgs. 4:42-44 | Eph 4:1-6 | Jn 6:1-15
I. “How can I set this before a hundred people?” Elisha’s servant objected.
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” Jesus asks Philip.
Two questions posed in the face of what appears to be inadequate. Elisha’s
servant doubts twenty barley loaves will feed a hundred people. And Jesus
asks his question as a way to test Philip – and show how generous God is in
the face of meager resources.
Have you ever asked such questions? Have you ever struggled with trying
to meet a great need with few resources? Have you ever been challenged in
believing God will satisfy all of our hungers?
Even though Elisha’s servant doubted there would be enough, there was
some left over – as Elisha had predicted.
And after having fed the 5,000, there were twelve wicker baskets of
fragments left over. Not only were the hungry fed, but God had provided an
II. But does that happen to us?
Think through your memory file…
- we are blessed to live in a part of the world where there is an abundance.
We are blessed to have plenty of food and drink; we are fortunate to live in a
country and area of the country where we can feel safe and secure; we have
many opportunities for education, employment, recreation and leisure.
- and not only are our physical needs satisfied, but our spirits as well. Living
here in this area we are surrounded by natural beauty: many of us enjoy the
pleasure of hiking, camping, fishing, boating on the river. We can enjoy
sports and recreational activities of all types winter, spring, summer and fall.
We have the good life! All of these serve to satisfy our hunger for beauty,
comfort and spiritual peace.
And what about times when an abundance is not so obvious? When we ask
those questions: will this be enough?
- have you ever heard a story about someone receiving just the right amount
of money in the mail to cover rent for the month?
- or an organization receives a large donation just days before it was
scheduled to close down?
- or hungry people receiving food just in time? I am thinking of one example
when two of our St. Vincent de Paul volunteers stumbled upon an elderly
lady who had no food. The house was dark, the snow was un shoveled and
they initially thought the house was abandoned. But they decided to knock
on the door anyway and discovered an elderly lady who was sitting there
alone. She had no food and no heat and decided just to wait for death.
- Or another of our SVdP volunteers who visited a family. One of the children
climbed up on the table and looked the visitor in the face and said, “Mr., we
have no food.”
- in my own life, I can recall many instances – more than I can count – of when
someone was there just at the right time – offered some word of advice,
raised a question, gave a word of encouragement, steered me in one
direction and not another, closed a door but opened another – someone who
served as a mentor at just the right moment helping to make the right
decisions and steer me in the right direction.
All of these are examples of God providing an abundance.
Not only – and is –there enough, but more than enough to satisfy our needs
both on a continual basis and at special, pivotal moments in life.
And what about you? Can you think of any examples when God was
abundantly generous to you – through the natural blessings of life and through
the generous hands and hearts of others? How often has – and does – this
happen in your life?
III. In response to all this, what can our response be?
St. Paul outlines that for us.
We are to live in a manner worthy of our calling. We are to live in all humility
and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving
to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one body and one
We are to live as such a family because we are united in one baptism.
IV. And not only are we blessed with such an overwhelming abundance, but we are
beneficiaries of the Eucharist. We receive more than mere barley loaves: we
receive the very bread of life, life in Christ now and for eternity.
---- Fr. Dwayne Thoman