17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are told in this Sunday’s Gospel that a large crowd was following Jesus because of the “signs” he had performed. We are also told that the Feast of Passover was near; this may explain why there would be such a large crowd on the roads at that time. It is likely the crowd was swelled by pilgrims on their way to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem.

Jesus could see they were hungry and tired and must be fed. Philip was the natural man to whom to turn, for he came from Bethsaida and would have local knowledge. Philip’s answer was despairing. But then Andrew appears on the scene with a young boy who has with him five barley loves and two little fish; the boy had not much.

Jesus tells the disciples to have the people recline. The “great deal of grass” noted recalls the Psalm from last week, (#23): “In verdant pastures he gives me rest.” Jesus then takes the loaves and fish and, acting as father of the family, gives thanks, and then distributes them. Again, Psalm 23 “…You spread the table before me..”

The people ate and were filled – more than filled – for we are told that the fragments were gathered and filled 12 baskets (recall the significance of the number).

The promise of Psalm 23 is fulfilled: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

We never know what possibilities we are releasing when we bring someone to Jesus as Andrew did. The young boy had not much to offer but in what he had Jesus found the materials of a miracle. Jesus needs what we can bring him. If we would lay ourselves on the altar of his service, there is no telling what he could do with us and through us. Little is always much in the hand of Christ.

Give a little of your time to ponder his word! 

View the Liturgy of the Word | 17h Sunday in Ordinary Time

Yvonne Gill
Director of Adult Formation