Homily Seventeenth Sunday Year B Miracle of faith

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Homily Seventeenth Sunday Year B

Reading 1: Elisha is a prophet of the Lord. God chose him to succeed Elijah the prophet at the end of his mission on earth. As Elijah performed miracles at the command of God, so Elisha had the same power.

Elijah asked a widow during the long drought in the land to make him a hearthcake and to give him some water. The widow said she had enough flour and oil to bake something for herself and her son before they die. Elijah said to do what he asked and she will have flour and oil as long as necessary. She did and the little she had never ran out.

Elisha accepted the gift of 20 barley loaves and told his attendants to feed a hundred people. Elisha said that the Lord told him that the people shall eat and there shall be some leftover.

This is a gift of the Holy Spirit, given to those who truly believe and served the Lord God. What is the key here? It is the faith of Elisha in the promise and power of God. It is the obedience of Elisha at the command of God. It is the obedience and trust of the servants. What is manifested is the faithfulness and compassion of God.

Elisha saw a need and turned to God for his guidance. What does this say to us? Where there is a need that is beyond our capacity to take care of, do we turn to the Lord his guidance? And if God tells us something that is beyond us and it is confirmed with the word of the Lord, do we, in faith, act on the word of God, even though humanly it looks impossible? And when we see the power of God manifested do we give God the glory and tell others about what he did?

Reading 2: Paul gives us a glimpse of the life of a true disciple of Jesus. He begins by reminding us who we really are. Paul sees himself as a prisoner for the Lord. He was doing what God told him to do and suffered imprisonment for it. In another place he will say that he is a slave of the Lord. How do we see ourselves?

As a disciple, slave of the Lord am I living in a manner worthy of my call received and initiated in baptism and affirmed and empowered in confirmation? What does my life look like? Am I humble or prideful; a servant or a master; living in the truth of how God sees me, no more, no less? Am I gentle and kind in my words and actions towards others? Am I a person steeped in patience or am I easily riled to anger? Do I bear with the faults of others and forgive in love as quickly as I can or do I hold grudges? Do I seek true peace and unity with others or am I divisive?

Gospel: The connection with the First Reading is obvious. Just as Elisha fed the 100 with 20 barley loaves and there were leftovers, so Jesus, the new prophet, feeds the 5,000 with five barley loaves and two fish with 12 baskets of leftovers. Jesus in his humanity has compassion for the people who have been following him. Moved by the Holy Spirit he knew what he was to do.
What lessons can we take from this episode?

1.Like Elisha and Jesus we need to be attentive to the Divine appointments God gives us and to the lead of the Holy Spirit. 2. We need to act on the lead of the Spirit in faith, obedience and expectancy. 3. Nothing is impossible for God. 4. Jesus gave the apostles an opportunity to participate in the miracle. They had to choose to obey and to trust in the command of Jesus.

Jesus will cap this miracle with the greater miracle of the gift of his Body and Blood. For if he can multiply a few loaves and fish, can he not change bread and wine into his own Body and Blood? As it took faith for the apostles to act and the people to receive being fed, so it takes faith for us to believe and receive the greater gift.

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