Reflection on Scripture Seventeenth Sunday Gospel B As Shepherd, Jesus feeds

By 10:17 AM

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel B

After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (of Tiberias). A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. 

· It was significant for John to recall that it was near the Feast of the Passover that the multiplication of the loaves and fish took place. Feeding the crowd in this manner reminded the people how God provided a meal for them at Passover and fed them in the desert with Manna. This miracle also anticipated the Last Supper transformation of bread and wine into his Body and Blood.

When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, "Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?" He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. 

· How did he know this in his humanity? Is it the presence of the Spirit?

o Last Sunday we heard that Jesus had compassion on the people for they were like sheep without a Shepherd. He will express his compassion in this miracle. A Shepherd not only leads his sheep but feeds them.

Philip answered him, "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little (bit)." One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?" 

· That they were barley loaves indicated they were the food of the poor. This may also be an allusion to the miracle that Elisha did in the OT.

Jesus said, "Have the people recline." Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. 

· Since it is near the Feast of Passover it is springtime.

So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 

· Indicating the number underlies the magnanimity of the miracle.

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, "Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted." So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, "This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world." 

· The OT had spoken of one who would come who would be like Moses. Through Moses' intercession Manna and quail were provided for the people in their time of hunger.

o In the OT the prophets spoke of the abundant banquet in the new Messianic kingdom.

· This was the fourth sign Jesus performed according to John; the first was the changing of water into wine at Cana.

Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone. 

· This event is told in each of the four Gospels, indicating its significance to the early Church.

· What does this passage say to you? Where has God shown his abundant love to you?

· Knowing what the people wanted to do, what is your response to God’s love in your life?  

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