Homily for 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B.
Text: 2 Kings 4:42-44; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15.
Theme: THE MORE WE SHARE, THE MORE WE HAVE!
YOU SATISFY THE HUNGRY HEART, WITH GIFTS OF FINEST WEATH, COME GIVE TO US, OH SAVING LORD, THE BREAD OF LIFE TO EAT. This song one of the communion hymns in the Church, gives us a succinct insight into lessons the Lord intends to teach us today. Jesus Christ our Lord, is always ready and willing to satisfy our hunger, if and when we come to him.
The ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ could be said to be that of touching and transforming lives. He preached the word of God to the hungry souls, he healed the sick, he raised the dead and, in the Gospel, today (John 6:1-15 ), Jesus sets out to feed a multitude (five thousand men, excluding women and children) with five loaves of bread and two fish. For Jesus Christ, it was all about multiplying and sharing for both the spiritual and the physical needs of the people.
In our first reading, Elisha got a gift of food. However, noticing that the people were hungry and moved by compassion, he generously offered it. Through him, God miraculously multiplied the food. Thus, fulfilling his prophecy: “They will eat and have leftover.”
In the second reading, Paul reminds us of the virtues that we need to live and survive together as a body of Christ. That is a community and family united by one faith, one baptism, and one spirit. These virtues include: “Charity, generosity, gentility, complete selflessness and patience towards one another.”
In the gospel, moved by compassion for his flock, Christ, “the new Elisha,” replicated Elisha’s miracle. He fed more than five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. He was sensitive to their situation and need. Christ cares both for our physical and spiritual needs. He feeds us with both His Word and the Holy Eucharist.
LESSONS FROM THE SCRIPTURES OF TODAY
- COMPASSIONATE LIVING.
A generous and compassionate attitude towards others can enrich the lives of many and our own life. When compassion and generosity embrace, great miracles happen for a community united by one faith, one spirit, and one baptism. Compassion is the basis of empathy and sympathy. We need it to understand what it means for others to be hungry, thirsty, sick, homeless, jobless, and lonely. We need them to be human.
- THE MORE WE SHARE, THE MORE WE HAVE.
The secret of giving is that it increases the giver (Prov. 11:24). Luke 6:38 says, “give and IT will be given to you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap…” A pertinent question one could ask is, “what is the “IT” that would be given to the giver?” The answer is simple, what the giver gives would be multiplied. In another place, the Bible tells us that givers never lack (Prov. 28:27). The greatest enemy we often confront in life is “ourself.” We are often overwhelmed by selfishness. Our excessive emphasis on ourselves is part of the failure of our spiritual growth. Giving is one of the ways of getting out of ourselves and reaching out to others.
- WE MUST ELIMINATE SELFISHNESS
we must eliminate all forms of selfishness, for Our God is indeed a generous God. He is a God who can transform something little into something extraordinary. So, we must not doubt God as the disciples did. This is because our God is a God of impossibilities. As Christ tells us: “With God all things are possible” (Mt 19: 26), and Paul affirms: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4: 13). We must allow God to transform our selfishness to generosity.
The message today is not really about the power of God to perform miracles in our lives; every day is a miracle from God, and we are living testimonies of divine miracles. The core of today’s message is about compassionate giving and sharing. There is an invitation to us to follow the examples of our merciful Savior, Jesus Christ
To be compassionate is to be like Christ. To be generous is to cooperate with Christ in his ministry. Christ sought his disciples and the community’s cooperation, and the little boy collaborated with what he had. He exhibited a fraternal spirit, and so changed the destiny of his community.
God’s blessings upon you.
Fr Paul George Ekanem, C.Ss.R
Church of Ascension, Nyahasang, Calabar.