This Sunday is the seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings today invite us to become humble instruments in God’s hands by sharing our blessings with our needy brothers and sisters. Miracles can and will continue to happen through our hands when we are generous with our God–given blessings. The readings also remind us that if we have been blessed with an abundance of gifts, then these gifts are for sharing with those who do not have them, such as the poor and the hungry. The readings also symbolically remind us to satisfy not only our physical hunger but also our spiritual hunger—hunger for God, for love, mercy, forgiveness and peace.
The first reading, taken from the Second Book of Kings, foreshadows today’s Gospel. Acting through the prophet Elisha, God fed approximately 100 people with only 20 loaves of barley. The Gospel describes Jesus’ miraculous feeding of more than 5,000 people with a child’s gift of five barley loaves and two dried fish. Both incidents teach us that God works marvels through ordinary people and meets their needs through the services provided by members of the community. The Elisha story looks back to Moses, the prophet who fed God’s people in the wilderness, and foreshadows the Eucharist, with which Jesus continues to nourish His believers.
Paul, in the second reading, reminds the Ephesians that Jesus united the Jews and the Gentiles, bringing them all together in one Faith and one Baptism. Hence, he advises them to keep this unity intact as “one body and one Spirit” by living as true Christians “bearing with one another through love,” with “humility and gentleness, with patience, . . . striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” At present, we are the community that Paul describes. We are the ones called to feed the hungry today. As followers of Christ, we need to remember that miracles can happen through our prayers, good works, and donations. We can perform miracles and, in this way, nobody will go hungry, and God will meet the needs of people through our generous hands and other forms of assistance.
An account of the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 is found in all four Gospels. This is the only miracle, other than the Resurrection, that is told in all the Gospels, a fact that speaks of its significance to the early Church. The Gospel story shows us the power of God and is an implicit declaration of Jesus’ Divinity. It also shows how, to this day, Jesus empowers His disciples to continue His works of compassion. We may regard the incident as both a miracle of Divine providence and also as a Messianic sign in which Jesus multiplied loaves and fish in order to feed his hungry listeners. The lesson herein for every Christian is that, no matter how impossible his or her assignments may seem, with Divine help they can be done because “nothing is impossible with God.” What we have to offer may not be much, but Jesus will make the most of it, just as He did with the little boy’s meager gift of the fish and barley loaves. If we can offer the little we have in service of God and His Church, He will do the impossible.
I am pleased to give you an update on our roofing project. The roofers have completed installing shingles on the north side of the barrel roof and have also completed the work on the flat roof. They are now working on the south side. There was some rotten wood on the flat roof, but the workers were able to fix it. However, this caused a delay on the work on the flat roof, but the roof looks beautiful. The parable in today’s Gospel reminds me of our roofing project. Just as the boy who fed 5,000 people with his five loaves of bread and two fish, we have been able to repair the church’s roof with your generous donations. I am so grateful to you all, and I am especially glad that we will not have a leaky roof during the next rainfall. We are currently working on the air conditioning and hopefully, we will be able to reinstall it soon. I appreciate your patience and support during this important project.