Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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2 Ephesians 4:1-6
Kings 4:42-44
John 6:1-15


In the first reading the prophet Elisha foreshadows Jesus by feeding a hundred people with twenty barley loaves and then has some left over. In the gospel we find the famous story of Jesus feeding a huge crowd with five barley loaves and two fish. These readings encourage us to look at the generosity of Elisha, Jesus and the little boy who shared his loaves and fishes – and we are asked to follow their lead and be generous hearted as well.

Sharing what we have with others is not always easy. Living in a materialistic society has led many of us to become addicted to things, things that could make us look important, things that make us feel we have “arrived.” Why does one need to drive a Maserati when a Kia serves the same purpose? Why do we need a five-bedroom house when two of us live there? But it’s not only people who are financially secure who act this way. Someone struggling financially has to have the latest smart phone. Another who barely gets by manages to buy the latest style of clothes. These examples may be the extreme for most of us, but if we are honest, we know we have many things in our lives that we don’t need. 

When is the last time you actually thought about the needs of others rather than your own? When is the last time you actually eliminated some of your excess and gave it to an organization for the poor? Are you willing to share just as the little boy in the gospel was willing to share what he had? A sobering thought about possessions – We came into this world as infants with nothing and we will leave it with nothing regardless of what was accumulated in between.

The second reading clearly tells us what kind of people we should be. Paul says we are to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace…” Living like this would make it easier to be generous.

In what ways are you generous with your time, talents and treasure?

What are some practical ways you can share with others, including the materially poor?

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