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Friday, 23 July 2021 17:32

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 2021

Written by Fr Bill Burt SVD

 

WHERE CAN WE BUY SOME BREAD FOR THESE PEOPLE TO EAT?

John 6:5b

[Gospel John 6:1-15, 17th Sunday B, 25th July, 2021]

 

Bill Burt 150Ted Noffs, who died in 1995, was a man very well known to Sydney-siders for more than 30 years. A Methodist/Uniting Church minister, he founded the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross in 1964, as an outreach to society’s most vulnerable people.

One Christmas, I heard a broadcast from the Wayside Chapel. During that day more than a thousand people had Christmas dinner at the Chapel. On radio, Ted talked about what has happening. Rather than use a traditional Christmas Biblical quote about the birth of Jesus, he focused on the Gospel story in today’s Mass. It’s the one usually referred to as “The Miracle of the Loaves”.

Ted wondered about the miracle. He questioned: Did Jesus literally take little pieces of bread and fish and multiply them, so as to provide food for thousands? Or was the miracle different, involving a change of heart? When the wonderful example of the little boy who gave what he had to Jesus, in order that it be shared with others, did others among them who saw this and had also brought food felt drawn to share too? In doing so, there turned-out to be more than enough for everyone?

He said that this was happening as he spoke at the Chapel: More and more people came to eat, but more and more other people brought food. There was more than enough for everyone. A miracle!

Of course, we don’t know exactly what happened 2000 years ago  near the Sea of Galilee, when today’s Gospel story took place. We are told that, “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were sitting there; then he did the same with the fish, distributing as much as they wanted.” (John 6:11).

However, we do know how much importance Jesus placed on giving and sharing. All of us, as followers Jesus, are called to be givers and sharers. This is at the heart of the mission that is a gift from God for us to share. How we live-out this calling does, of course, depend on our individual circumstances.

Surely it’s significant, too, that in the Gospel it’s said that, “Jesus gave thanks.” Gratitude  is another vital element of Jesus’ teaching ...  Giving, sharing, with a sense of gratitude, which comes from the acknowledgment of the blessings we receive.

Jesus asked his close friends, “Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?” A miracle took place. Since then, Jesus’ close friends have continued to work miracles, bringing to people what they need.

Let’s allow the beautiful story of “The Miracle of the Loaves” to touch are hearts. May we be encouraged to always be people who give and share, with a sense of deep gratitude.