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Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

  • Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

    Posted by Mary Wilson July 29, 2018 - Category: Spirituality - 381 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #Jesus  #miracles  #multiplication of loaves and fish  #feeding multitudes 
    HOMILY BY FR. DOMINIC ON JN 6:1-15
    
    Little Johnny was in Sunday school and his mothercame to collect him. “Boy,”
    exclaimed Johnny as he settled himself in the car,“that story of Moses and all those
    people crossing the Red Sea was something!”“Tell me all about it,” said his mother.
    “Well, the Israelites got out of Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them.
    So the Jews ran as fast asthey could until they got to the Red Sea. The Egyptian
    Army was getting closer and closer. So Moses got on his walkie-talkie and told the
    Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians. While that was happening, the Israeli Navy
    built a pontoon bridge so the people could cross over. They made it!” The woman was
    shocked,and asked, “Is that the way they taught you the story?” “Well, no,
    notexactly,” admitted Johnny, “but if I told you the way they told it to us,
    you’d never believe it, Mom.” Little as he was, Johnny had picked up the
    secular mentality of our age that makes no room for miracles and spiritual
    realities. Natural faith, which is limited only to what we can observe and verify,
    hinders the believer from arriving at that supernatural faith without which we
    cannot experience the miraculous hand of God.
    
    In today’s gospel story of the Feeding of the FiveThousand, John mentions two
    disciples by name: Philip and Andrew. These two disciples can be seen as representing
    two types of faith. Philip represents then aturalistic faith that does not allow for
    miracles while Andrew represents supernatural faith that makes room for miracles and
    so makes miracles possible.
    
    Jesus and his disciples had a problem. The large crowd of people following him were
    hungry and needed to be fed. Jesus turns to Philip and asks, “Where are we to buy
    bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5). Why does Jesus turn to Philip and why
    does he ask him about buying bread? Jesus probably knew that Philip in his
    material-mindedness could not imagine any other way of feeding the crowd except
    through the use of money. That is why John adds that “He said this to test him, for
    he himself knew what he was going to do” (verse 6). Philip’s answer only confirms how
    good he was in material computation: “Two hundred days’ wages would not buy enough
    bread for each of them to get a little“(verse 7). But Jesus knew what he would do. He
    only addressed this question to Philip as a way of rousing up Philip’s
    materialistic thinking in order, later, to correct him of it.
    
    Just then Andrew, one of the disciples standing by,whose faith was more expectant
    than Philip’s spoke up. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.
    But what good are these for so many?”(verse 9). Andrew was realistic enough to know
    that five loaves and two fish were nothing before a crowd of 5,000 men in addition to
    women and children, yet he had enough faith to see that it was enough for a start.
    Perhaps Andrew mentioned the fish and loaves to Jesus because he remembered the
    marriage feast at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine. He remembered that Jesus
    did not make wine out of nothing; he made it out of something. And it is the
    disciples’duty first to provide that basic something which Jesus in his love would
    then transform, like water into wine, or multiply, like bread to feed the
    hungry crowd. Expectant faith, therefore, does not make us fold our hands
    doing nothing, looking up to heaven. Rather it moves us on to make our
    best contribution, our five loaves and two fish, knowing that without it there
    wouldbe no miracle. A miracle is not God working for us; it is God working with us.
    
    In this connection the mention of the boy in the miracle is interesting and worth reflecting. We don’thave any idea how old he was. But let us assume that he is just a small boy. Generally speaking, children are selfish. It is not easy for children to easily give something that they have in their hand. However,the boy mentioned in this gospel passage is a differentkind of a child. He is a boy
    who easily shared the loaves and the fish. There is something new that happened here.
    There is a movement from selfishness to selflessness or generosity. He had not much
    to offer but in what he had, Jesus found the materials of a miracle. Imagine a
    situation if the boy had been reluctant to share what he had in his hand, then Jesus
    would not have been able to perform the miracle. It indicates that there would have
    been one great deed less in history if that boy had withheld his loaves and fishes.
    
    Jesus needs what we can bring to him. It may not be much but he needs it. Today the
    world is denied miracle after miracle and triumph after triumph because we will not
    bring to Jesus what we have and what we are. If we would lay ourselves on the altar
    of his service then there is no doubt what he could do with us and through us. We may
    be sorry and embarrassed that we have not more to bring but that is not be the reason
    for failing to bring what we have. Little is always much in the hands of Christ.
    
    Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or not, you are right.” The same can
    be said about whether you believe in miracles or not. Believers, by believing, enable
    miracles to happen in their lives. Non-believers, by not believing, block their
    chances of experiencing a miracle. As Jesus often said, “According to your faith will
    it be done to you” (Matthew9:29).
    photo via CCSearch/Flickr/pcstratman

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