Homily Seventeenth Sunday Year B Learn from the Lord

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Homily Seventeenth Sunday Year B

Reading 1: Elisha was a prophet of the Lord. God chose him to succeed Elijah at the end of his mission on earth. As Elijah performed miracles at the command of God, so Elisha has the same power. Elijah asked a widow during the long draught in the land to make him a hearth cake and give him a drink of water. The widow said she had enough flour and oil to bake something for herself and her son before they die. Elijah said do what he asked and she would 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 prophesied in the name of God: “They shall eat and there shall be some left over.”


What is key here is the faith of Elisha in the power of God; the obedience of Elisha at the word of God; the obedience and trust of the servants; the faithfulness and compassion of God. Elisha saw a need and turned to the Lord for his guidance. What does that say to us? Where there is a need that is beyond our capacity to take care of, do we turn to the Lord for his direction? And if God tells us something that is beyond us and is confirmed in 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 God did?


Gospel: We have been following the Gospel of Mark for the last few Sundays. Last Sunday, we read that Jesus saw the vast crowd seeking him. They were like sheep without a shepherd. He taught and healed them. Today and the next few Sundays, we will read from the Gospel of John.


Our reading begins with Jesus looking at the vast crowd and realizing that they have been with him all day and have not eaten. He has compassion on them and chooses to feed them rather than send them away on their own.


The connection with the first reading is obvious. Just as Elisha fed the 100 with 20 barley loaves and there was a sizable left over, so Jesus, the new prophet feeds the 5,000 with five barley loaves and two fish with twelve large baskets of fragments remaining.


What can we learn from this message of the Scriptures?  1) Like Elisha and Jesus we need to be attentive to the Divine Appointments God gives us. 2) We need to be attentive to and act on the lead of the Holy Spirit in our daily life. 3)Nothing is impossible to God. 4) Jesus gave the Apostles an opportunity to participate in the miracle through obedience and trust.


Reading 2: Paul gives us a glimpse of the life of a true disciple of Jesus. A disciple belongs to the Lord.  A disciple lives a life worthy of one’s call from God, received and initiated in Baptism, affirmed and empowered in Confirmation. As a disciple, I am who I am in the eyes of God, nothing more, nothing less.


The virtues and qualities Paul talks about are at the heart of being a disciple. These lead to unity and peace. It is not easy to preserve this unity. It is a choice and decision. We are called to speak the truth in love.


Hearing these virtues how do we rate ourselves?  Do we bear with one another through love? How humble, gentle and patient are we in our daily interactions with others?  Do I embrace the truth that all this is possible because I belong to the Body of Christ, that Jesus is the Lord of my life and that by God’s grace I am filled with the Holy Spirit and am a son or daughter of the Father of all?


As you reflect on the Word of God, what is God saying to you?

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