Ordinary time B, K 4,42-44; Eph 4, 1-6; Jn 6, 1-15
We are today on the 17th Sunday in Ordinary time. In the second reading, the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians, called us to live “a life worthy with our vocation”, a Christian life, to help one another, to preserve the unity of the Spirit. But sometimes, when facing a such problem mentioned in today's Gospel, we would say, unless there is a miracle for it.
Yes, the miracle is what we need, what we wish to have. As the first reading and the Gospel tells us today, it will happen if we cooperate and have faith in God
I tell you a story: there is a poor, old and pious man praying to God to grant him a winning lottery. He is waiting and praying night and day. After a long-time, he is tired and disappointed because his prayer has not been granted. In a dream, the devout man meets God and asks him why God has not listened to his prayer. God replied, “Why don’t you give me a chance to help you, buy a ticket !”
To make something happen, we need to do it. God is calling us to cooperate with him as he demanded his disciples in today’s Gospel: Jesus had pity on his followers and asked Philip to buy something for these people to eat. Even though, according to Saint John, Jesus himself knew exactly what he was doing. Andrew found a boy with five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus took it, gave thanks, and gave them out. The miracle happened.
Saint John evangelist doesn’t speak of Jesus' miracles. He describes the miraculous thing Jesus did as a sign. On one hand, a sign is something that we can see, can touch, can feel... It is a visible thing. On the other hand, a sign tells us something or tells us the hidden meaning if we understand. For example: seeing a footprint we know someone was there, or seeing the red light on the street, we know that we have to stop…
God needs us to cooperate with him. He needs us to spread the Good news for all the nations. He needs us to be a visible sign of his Kingdom for our brothers and sisters. The miracle will happen when we make our effort. And the miracle will happen when we put our faith in him.
We have heard in the first reading and in the Gospel, the disciples of Elisa and of Jesus did what their masters said. The feeding of the crowd points us to the faith of the disciples. Philip was not sure when Jesus asked him. Andrew did a little better. He took a hesitant step in faith and pushed the little boy with five loaves and two fish. At the command of Jesus, the disciples trustingly did exactly what he asked.
The multiplication of the loaves and fish described in this Sunday’s Gospel passage reminds us of the Holy Eucharist, where we receive the “Bread of Life,” Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion. This Sacrament of the Church is not the only symbol, but the Real Presence of the Lord. These gifts become nourishment for our spiritual journey.
May the power of God’s love strengthen us to trust more deeply in God’s care and to show that care to others by sharing what is ours.