Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)


During the next five Sundays, the gospel readings will be taken from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, the great and beautiful discourse on the Bread of Life. We will hear the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and you know, there is a lot more to this miracle than food for dinner. On a deeper scale, the miracle is sharing in the Lord of all that He is. It is a miracle of being filled with the food the Lord gives, himself[1].

Few years ago the Zeferrelli's film Jesus of Nazareth united Mary Magdalene with the miracle of the loaves and fishes. For one instant the camera focused on Mary Magdalene holding the bread that Christ gives in her hand and looking at Jesus. The continual gift of the Lord led Mary Magdalene to conversion. Holding the bread and looking at the Lord she realizes that He alone satisfies her needs. As the hymn prays, He satisfies the hungry heart[2].

There are five thousand men, not counting women and children, and only five loaves of bread available. When the disciples ask what they should do, Jesus tells them that the bread he will give them will be enough: the miracle of the loaves and fish is a miracle also of our sharing the gifts of Christ. He gives us plenty for all that we are called upon to feed. Our union with him satisfies the hungry hearts of our families, our neighbors, and our world.

Sometimes we question whether or not we can be the spiritual leaders the Lord calls on us to be: Am I good enough as a priest to give you all you need? How can I? There are so many of you and just one of me? But it is not my bread that I have been called upon to give you; it is the bread the Lord gives me for you. And that is always enough, despite my human limitations.

Perhaps you have asked yourselves. Am I good enough to be a spiritual leader in my house? Can I bring my wife, my husband, and my children to God? Perhaps some of you might say, "I'm not that spiritual. I'm inclined to sin. I can't give my children what they need to become good Christians." Well, these thoughts are incorrect, for the bread you need to feed your family, the presence of Christ in your home is enough for you. Through your union with Christ, through your sacraments Jesus provides all you need. And the presence of the Lord you cultivate in that bread basket never runs out. So, there is plenty of food, plenty of Christ for the family. There is plenty of bread in the basket when the bread comes from the Lord.

We have to stay united to the Lord. His bread, which might appear little in your eyes and my eyes, a mere five barley loaves, is plenty for thousands of people.

Your homes are churches. Your families are united in the Lord. Your union with God as a family gives meaning and direction to your lives. Never, never feel that you are not good enough to be spiritual leaders, particularly of your children. Husbands do not feel that you cannot be a source of God's love for your wives. Wives do not feel that you cannot be a source of God's love for your husbands. United in the Lord, he multiplies the love that is his presence in an infinite manner. He satisfies the hungry hearts.

We need to nourish the presence of the Lord. You are doing that right now, by attending Mass and receiving the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. We need to worship the Lord together in our homes, the little churches. Perhaps, you should consider praying together in your homes if you are not already doing this. Before meals and at bedtimes is an excellent opportunity for families to get in the habit of daily prayer. Pray to God together to keep you family strong as a family and strong in his love, the same thing. In your homes celebrate your union as a family. And never feel that anything you do is insignificant. Wonderful things can happen with just five barley loaves when the bread comes from the Lord ■


[1] Sunday 29th July, 2012, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: 2 Kings 4:42–44. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs—Ps 144(145):10–11, 15–18. Ephesians 4:1–6. John 6:1–15 [St Martha].

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris