July 26, 2015 – Seventeenth Sunday in ordinary time
2 Kings 4:42-44; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15
Fr Fernando Torres, CMF
Food has been one of the most urgent issues for a great part of humanity throughout history. It still is today for many millions of people. Each morning they feel unsatisfied hunger and all their energy is spent trying to find the basic necessities to survive. Does it seem impossible? It is true. And we are speaking of material hunger, the hunger for bread or rice, the lack of the basic needs for survival.
The gospel today speaks about how Jesus multiplied a few loaves and fish and fed a multitude. The text says they were 5,000, without counting women and children. They were following him, hoping perhaps to find a word of encouragement, something to give them new hope. They were desperate people. Perhaps that is why they had left their homes and had gone into the desert following the preacher. They are just a crowd of desperate people.
The miracle of Jesus is more than feeding them. What is more important is that he manages to make a family out of that multitude. Jesus manages to have them sit and share a meal. He makes a fraternity out of them. That is why food is left over at the end. If the change had not been made in the relationship of those people, nothing would have been left over. Most likely everyone would have struggled to hoard as much food as possible.
They would have only looked after their own interests to fill their hunger, for the day and for the following day. There wouldn’t have been any reason to share with others. Their survival was at stake. But the miracle happens. Jesus makes them discover that, in sharing bread, there is a new way of living, that the well-being of others is a condition for my own well-being, that it is much easier to cover their needs as a family, and that there is leftover bread in the end.
By working the miracle, Jesus gives a new hope to those people. This is what makes them say, “This is indeed the prophet who must come to the world.” Jesus, messenger and speaker for God, gives hope to those who lived in despair, welcomes into a family those who were alone, and feeds those who were hungry.
With Jesus there is new hope for us, too. We must be the bearers of hope for our world. We Christians make a commitment to gather, to share what we have, and to welcome. We do not want to divide, hate, or separate anyone. We believe we can live united in love and in the bond of peace. We believe it is possible to overcome the hatred that kills and destroys. We commit ourselves to this for the week we are starting.
-Where do you think there are signs of division in your neighborhood or family?
-What could you do to unite around the table of communion those who are divided?
-Do you believe Sunday Mass is a sign of unity? What could you do to have a better experience?