Reflection for the Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The people who followed Jesus were continually amazed at the miracles that he performed. They followed him out of curiosity and out of need. He cured the sick, cast out devils, raised the dead, and fed the hungry. The crowd acclaimed him a prophet. News of his whereabouts spread rapidly, and the multitudes swelled. The people wanted to witness his extraordinary power and hear the new message that he was preaching about their God. Many came to believe in him.
” To believe in him” means more than just accepting what Jesus had to say as being true. It embodies trust and a willingness to place one’s self into the sphere of another’s. Jesus’s behavior modeled charity to an eminent degree. His caring and, therefore, his miracles are more than just proofs of his divinity. They are prototypes or patterns to be followed by his followers, those who come to believe in him – the Church. The very agenda of Assembly of Believers is based on what Jesus modeled.
Frequently, Jesus used food and meals to make his point. The multiplication of the loaves and fish is one such event. It is the only miracle found in all four Gospels, occurring six times. While the event has eucharistic implications, we can derive another lesson from it. In a number of versions, before Jesus performs, he asks his disciples to be the ones o feed the crowd (Mt. 14:16, Morris. 6:37, Lc 9:13). He challenged them to respond to the need. ” you give them something to eat” He attempts to empower those who say that they believe in him. But, they fail to seize the moment. And, unfortunately, so do most of us in our time.
Those who find it difficult to believe in a loving and caring God often use the unfulfilled needs of society as a proof that God must not exist. However, this does not prove the non existence of a God. Rather, it demonstrates the failure on our part to be faithful stewards in partnership with him. We are prompt to point out to the Lord situations needing attention. But, we are slow to hear his response: ” you give them something to eat.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Saint John Chrysostom as teaching: ” Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them to life. Three goods we possess are not ours, but theirs “
Jesus promised a world of justice and of peace, a taste of his reign. He has entrusted this agenda to those who believe in him. We, who proclaim the one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, and who are journeying into a new era, are called to make a difference. That is part and parcel of our accepting Jesus. And, we need not to worry about how little we have. The Lord will see to it that all together, it will be just the right amount.
God bless you all!
Fr. Dominic
Your brother in Christ!