Gospel Reflections

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 6:1-15

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Angele Lewis

Published: July 26, 2015

Often, when I reflect on the Sunday liturgies, I wonder how all four readings relate to each other. However, all of the readings today are powerful reminders of God’s life-giving and abundant generosity in the past, in the present, and in the future.

In the first reading and in the Gospel, Elisha and Jesus are feeding people by providing for their immediate needs. The Psalm says: “The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.” And Paul urges the Ephesians (4:1-6) “to live in a manner worthy of the call… received, with 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 Spirit…”

Today by geography and culture, we might respond to Jesus’ question in the same way as Andrew: “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each to have a little.” Or we can offer, as Andrew – “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what good are these for so many.” However, "Jesus knows what he was going to do." Jesus has the people recline, he “took the boy’s loaves and fishes, gave thanks, and distributed to those reclining… and also as much of the fish as they wanted.” And after they have had had their fill, he says to the disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”

Jesus is the Bread of Life. The Eucharist is a sign of God’s abundance and future fulfillment when the Kingdom of God is realized. Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ and the Romaria 2015  (Pilgrimage in Anapu, Brazil)  which celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the martyrdom of Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, testify to our need to Care for our Common Home. The Romaria begins in Anapu on July 23 ends on July 26, in Esperança, Brazil. The pilgrims walk 34 miles while singing songs and telling stories of what they have learned from the struggles to be a Christian Community, to care for the earth, and to do sustainable farming. They walk through areas deforested by conglomerates for farming, lumber, and cattle. As they move deeper into the Amazon forest, they experience the shaded welcome of the forest, community, and each other.

I can imagine that their concluding Liturgy today, in the forest, must be like the “multiplication of the loaves” as well as pilgrims' gifts remembering the heroes with whom they lived, struggled, and celebrated. These pilgrims have experienced what Paul urges in Ephesians: “…strive to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope… one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Somethings to ponder:

  • What does “common good” mean to you, to your friends, to the world?
  • How do you practice “sustainable” living?
  • When and how do you choose life?


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