Fr. Mike’s homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (4)

Fr. Mike’s homily for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Theme: The Miracle We Truly Need

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Sunday July 25 2021

John 6:1-15

The Gospel this Sunday is the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Once again, it is pity for the hungry crowd that impelled Jesus to do this miracle. He saw the vast crowd, numbering five thousand men, not counting women and children. He asked Philip where they could get food to give to the people. Philip’s response was realistic and practical: “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit]” (Jn 6:7). At this point, Andrew came forward with a suggestion: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.” And immediately, he added his personal judgment: “But what good are these for so many?” (Jn 6:9).

This is the same question we ask every day. We think that what we have is never enough, that God does not provide us with enough blessings. Truly, five loaves of bread and two fish are nothing to five thousand hungry men. But the apostles were wrong. Five loaves and two fish in the hand of a human being are nothing. But five loaves and two fish in the hand of Jesus is everything. It is not the bread and fish that mattered. Rather it is the hand of Jesus holding the bread and fish that mattered.

The first lesson, then, is about trust in God. The world is undergoing severe economic crisis, exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. We have seen the futility of man’s efforts to solve this problem. Psalm 127 reminds us: “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build. Unless the Lord guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch.” And Jesus said: “I am the vine, you are the branches; without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).

The boy gave away all his food: five barley loaves and two fish. He was not afraid he was going to starve. Beneath his generosity is his undaunted trust in God. He must have listened intently on every word of Jesus. And he truly believed and trusted His words.

This reminds us of the poor widow who donated her every cent to the Temple treasury (Lk 21:1-4). She trusted God fully that she gave everything she had to live on. And Jesus praised her profusely. This is the same thing with the widow of Zarephath during the great famine in Israel at the time of Elijah (1 Kings 17:7-16). She trusted in God, and she shared with the prophet her last meal. As a result, her jar of flour did not go empty, and her jug of oil did not run dry.

Generosity and trust: they always go together. Only a person who learns to trust God can be truly generous. He can let go and let God. It is like placing all our resources in the hands of Jesus. Gathering all our resources in our hands, they amount to nothing. The five loaves and fish in the hands of the disciples is nothing. But in the hands of Jesus, they fed five thousand men.

Generosity and trust in God are the solution to the world’s economic problems. Sad to say, however, people trust only in their wealth and human powers, rather than in God. Instead of being generous, they persist in their selfishness and greed. People are unwilling to share, thinking that doing so means having less, and therefore, make them unhappy. So, they hoard and amass wealth, by hook or by crook. The parable of the rich fool should warn us: “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” (Lk 12:20).

The miracle that the world needs now is not the multiplication of bread. Of what use is that if we continue with our selfish and greedy ways? Mahatma Gandhi said: “The world has enough for man’s need; but not enough for everyone’s greed.” Rather, the miracle that the world needs now is the conversion of our hearts, so that we learn to trust God’s providence and be able to share our blessings with others. Then the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves takes place once again.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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