17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr Isaac Atta Mensah

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17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B by Fr Isaac Atta Mensah

1st Reading 2 Kings 4:42-44
Responsorial Psalm Psalms 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
2nd Reading Ephesians 4:1-6
Gospel John 6:1-15

Theme: The God of Sufficiency


One of the very popular quotes of St Augustine after his conversion is: “how late have I known you and how late have I loved you? Our souls are restless unless they rest in you, Lord”. This simple but profound statement of faith sums up man’s innermost yearnings for that which satisfies. Our readings of today respond to this craving nay yearning of humanity.

Explanation of the text

Our first reading from the second book of Kings explains the miraculous deeds of the Prophet Elisha when he multiplied two loaves for more than hundred Prophets to eat. The text continues that the men ate these bread and still had some left.

In the gospel, moved by compassion for his flock, Jesus, “the new Elisha,” replicated the miracle of Elisha. He fed more than five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish and also had some left. There are some striking similarities between our first reading and the gospel. Elisha performed this miracle during the celebration of the feast of the first fruits which is one of important feasts in Judaism and Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of bread when the feast of Passover was nearing. Again in both cases, Elisha and Jesus were moved by compassion.

However a cursory look at the gospel again will unravel the intent of the multitude following Jesus, for John says because they saw the signs that He had worked. God doesn’t expect us to live on miracles all the time. He expects us to live in His sufficiency.

Many times people wait until a crisis situation occurs and then call out to God in desperation for a miracle. He can give you a miracle if you need one, but He would rather want you to live in His sufficiency as you go along. We may think sufficiency refers just to have money to pay our bills, but it goes far beyond that. It can mean a lot of different things—for example a lot of people live in some kind of a crisis all the time. Their household is stirred up all the time with no sense of calmness or peace. Somebody is fighting over something or somebody is always depressed over something. Or someone is always offended by what people say.

God expects us to position ourselves so He can get us in the stream of His sufficiency—sufficiency means enough and more than enough. Jesus was sensitive to their situation and need. Christ cares both for our physical and spiritual needs. He feeds us with both His word, and the Holy Eucharist.

Moral Injunctions

1. The Lord doesn’t give us what we want but gives us what we need. He alone satisfies.

2. Our contribution and effort is key for the multiplication. In both miracles the disciples had to provide something of their own. God is capable of doing everything but He often requires our efforts.

3. Trust in the Lord’s plans.
Let us continue to trust the process and God’s plans for us. Have you been in a desperate situation, unable to see any way out? The disciples didn’t know what to do when Jesus asked them to provide something for the crowd. But because they had trust in Him, they left everything to His care. Remember every setback is a stepup for a comeback.

4. After receiving the daily bread how do we treat the leftovers? The leftovers in these miracles were meant to feed others. Do we share our bread or we are selfishly holding them to our chest?



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