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Saturday, 25 July 2015

Reflection/Homily: Seventeenth (17th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B (July 26 2015)

Reflection/Homily: Seventeenth (17th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B (July 26 2015)
Theme: What is your Loaf of Bread?

Recently, I once attended a function that lasted more than it was necessary. I didn’t take my breakfast before setting out for the event and when the event was unnecessarily being prolonged, I became very hungry and looked forward to the light refreshment. Unfortunately, the organizers of the event didn’t anticipate a very large guest that the provisions they made were obviously insufficient for all that so many persons including myself went home disappointed, hungry, and angry. In the first reading (2 Kings 4:42-44), we see a different scenario. Elisha’s servant was asked to distribut twenty barley loaves among a crowd containing about a hundred men and he wondered if the loaves would ever be enough for all but at the end of the story, the crowd all ate and there were some left over. In the gospel reading (John 6:1-15) too, the disciples wondered about the sufficiency of the five loaves of bread and two fish which were to be used to feed a crowd containing about five thousand men. At the end of the story, when Jesus blessed the loaves and fish, the crowds all ate and there were twelve baskets filled with left overs. 

As it concerns us as a Church and society, God has blessed us with so many good things to be shared among us like the loaves of bread. Sometimes, these good things are in the hands of some people (talents for example), at other times, some people hijack these good things to themselves (like dividends from natural resources) because of their positions or influence. For this reason, the masses suffer and go hungry because those concerned do not want to release these blessings for the common good. The readings of today teaches us to sacrifice the little we have for the common good and more still, to give out what belongs to the public for the common good. God has given each and every one of us a loaf of bread and some fish to contribute and share with others. What is your “loaf of bread”. Your loaf of bread could be your wealth, talent, time, idea, energy, etc. Why not share it with others no matter how small it is. Some prefer to hide theirs while others use theirs for community development. Contribute the little you have and see the miracle that will result from it. You can imagine the joy of the donors of the loaves of bread that were used to feed the multitude. They would go home fulfilled.

If you are a powerful preacher, singer, prayer warrior, motivator, organizer, cleaner, teacher, driver, etc, it is your loaf of bread to share with the members of your Church or community. But when you share “your loaf of bread” with others, do that with the right motive. Our motives for generous services should be selfless; to alleviate people’s problems and better their lives and not to receive chieftaincy awards or other recognitions. Even Jesus refused to be crowned king after feeding the crowd. As we share our gifts, St Paul reminds us in the second reading (Eph 4:1-6) to work in harmony with each other. Let none see his or her gift as supreme over others and there should be no division among us because of the various gifts we have received but we all should work towards the common good bearing in mind that “there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God who is Father of all, through all and within all”.

Beloved friends, on another note, the miracles of the multiplication of loaves and the feeding of the crowd are a foretaste of the banquet of the Holy Eucharist. The responsorial psalm reminds us that the Hand of the Lord feeds us. He feeds us at the banquet of the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist, Christ becomes both the giver and the gift. He is the bread of life which shares himself to feed not just five thousand people but all humanity willing to be fed. Do you partake of this great meal always or do you have any barrier (sin) hindering you? Are you living in concubinage with sin and so cannot receive Communion? Why not cleanse yourself today and begin to partake of this great banquet. This banquet satisfies all our needs because it is Jesus himself. This Eucharistic meal unites us as a family under Christ and St. Paul in the second reading also advises us to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds us together. Therefore, may the Eucharist we adore and receive make us always ready to share our gifts and blessings with others as Christ shared himself with us in the Holy Eucharist and may he promote peace, love, unity and tolerance among us now and always. God loves you. Happy Sunday.

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