Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

For the next five weeks we take our leave of Saint Mark’s Gospel (since it is not long enough to fill the year) and read Chapter Six of Saint John’s Gospel. This is the famous “Eucharistic Discourse” and begins with the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. A line of the Psalm gives the meaning of today’s readings: “The eyes of all creatures look to you (O God) and you give them their food in due time.” Our God is the God who provides for his people; the prosperity and fruitfulness of our earth and the mysterious cycles of nature ensures that all have what they need – and have some left over. The actions of Elisha and Jesus are in a sense prophetic: many would say that there is not enough food in this world to go round, just as the two sets of disciples complain that there is not enough for the hundred or the five thousand. But the prophetic action states that this is not true: God provides what is needed. This might prompt us to think about the unfair and unequal distribution of the fruits of the earth: the miracle is a sign of the Kingdom of God – what God wants the world to be like. Perhaps we should take the message of the miracle to heart this Sunday and think about the multitude that still sits in hunger in our world today.

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