Vol: 45, No.42 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME ( B) July 29 2018  
We have consumed, O Lord, this divine Sacrament, the perpetual memorial of the Passion of your Son;
grant, we pray, that this gift, which he himself gave us with love beyond all telling, may profit us for salvation. Through Christ our Lord.
Chapter six of John's Gospel begins with the account of the multiplication of bread. The multiplication of the loaves and fish is narrated in all four Gospels in substantially the same form with only minor variants of place and circumstances. Luke and John have only one multiplication narrative; Matthew and Mark have two. In John there is no teaching before the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus is seated on a mountain waiting for the people and brings up the question of providing food for them himself. Only John mentions a young boy with barley loaves. The story of the multi-plication has several themes:
a) The Eucharist: The Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. Our attention is drawn, not to the urgent need for food, but to the imminence of an occasion in the Jewish year when the food had a specific religious significance. The food Jesus is about to provide must not be understood merely as a means of satisfying hunger.
John's choice of the verb eucharisteo, from which we derive Eucharist means thanks-giving.
b) Gather the fragments: Why is this so important? On the face of it, it is the feeding that matters, not what is left over. The "twelve baskets full" surplus is symbolic either for the twelve apostles who are doing the serving or for the twelve tribes of Israel, who will never be in want.
The desire of the crowd to make Jesus king shows that they have connected this sign with the promised messianic banquet and concludes that Jesus must be the expected Messiah or prophet, but Jesus is not easily taken in by their enthusiasm which stops short of true faith in him.
At that time the Jewish religion encouraged people to pin their hopes on a figure who "was to come," even though it allowed a wide variety of opinions on what kind of figure this would be. Speculation ranged from a warrior king to a divinely empowered being who would usher in a new age. One expectation was a prophet like Moses. Moses had miraculously fed the people with manna, and here was Jesus doing something similar. It was not difficult for the crowd to guess that Jesus was indeed the prophet. But this kind of religious excitement could easily spill over to something more political and dangerous. There were several self-styled 'prophets' in this period who promised to show an authoritative 'sign' and then to lead the Jewish people against their Roman conquerors. So Jesus withdraws from the place. It is likely that the crowd's main purpose is to secure through Jesus a constant supply of free food, rather than any careful summing up of his Messianic potential.
July / August 2018 Readings (17th Week in Ordinary Time)) Psalter Week 1
30 Mon (G) St Peter Chrysologus, (International Day of Friendship)
Jer 13:1-11/ Deut 32:18-21/ Mt 13:31-35
31 Tue (W) St Ignatius of Loyola, Jer 14:17-22/ Ps 79:8-9, 11, 13/ Mt 13:36-43
01 Wed (W) St Alphonsus Liguori, Jer 15:10, 16-21/ Ps 59:2-4, 10-11, 17, 18/ Mt 13:44-46
02 Thu (G) Sts Eusebius of Vercelli & Peter Julian Eymard, Jer 18:1-6/ Ps 146:1-6/ Mt 13:47-53
03 Fri (G) Jer 26:1-9/ Ps 69:5, 8-10, 14/ Mt 13:54-58
04 Sat (W) St John Mary Vianney, Jer 26:11-16, 24/ Ps 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34/ Mt 14:1-12
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