The 17th Sunday of the Year

2 Kgs 4:42-44; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15 (Year B)

Today, and over the coming weeks, the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel sets before us the revelation of Christ as the Bread of Life. This is a timely preparation for the National Eucharistic Congress which takes place in Liverpool at the beginning of September. Not everyone will be able to attend, but all are called to worship the Christ who stands in our midst as the living bread come down from heaven.

Hunger is the most instinctive expression of humanity’s longing for life. As the body craves food, so the spirit longs for love, healing and forgiveness. Throughout the Old Testament the God who feeds the hungry became a recurrent model of salvation: “The eyes of all creatures look to you, and you give them their food in due time. You open wide your hand, grant the desires of all who live.”

During the weeks ahead let us seek out every opportunity for silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Let us allow that gentle presence to question and heal our lives. Prayerful discernment brings us to an acknowledgement of the many hungers that drive our lives. Let us repent of the sinful hungers that wound but can never satisfy. Let us embrace the hunger that rests content in the presence of the Lord.

Elisha was but one of the prophets whose miracles of feeding foreshadowed the Eucharist. He directed that the grain and bread offered at the Temple should be used to feed a starving city. Here, for the first time, we see that the little we can bring to the Lord is multiplied by his blessing. “They will eat and have some left over. They ate, and had some over, as the Lord had said.”

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