Miraculous Meal for All Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B

 


Miraculous Meal for All Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B

2 Kings 4:42-44 Psalm 145 Ephesians 4:1-6 John 6:1-15

The prophet Elisha in today’s first reading miraculously feeds 100 people from 20 barley loaves. Elisha Miraculously Feeds 100 from 20 barley loaves.

The reading is followed by the psalm which instructs that the hand of the “Lord feeds us…and satisfies the desire of every living thing.”

Through the Gospel reading we encounter Our Lord Jesus whose hands help to feed not a 100 people from 20 barley loaves but rather 5,000 people from only 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. The 5,000 were probably a few thousand more since, according to Matthew’s account the number 5,000 did not include women and children (Mat. 14:21).

After the thousands of people had eaten, Jesus’ disciples gathered fragments that John’s Gospel specifically states came “from the five barley loaves”. These fragments from the five barley loaves filled 12 baskets. By including the detail that fragments which filled 12 baskets came directly from the 5 barley loaves, John is highlighting the miraculous aspect of Jesus’ multiplication of loaves for naturally speaking it is impossible for fragments from five barley loaves to fill 12 wicker baskets.

The 12 wicker baskets, comments Pitre, likely symbolizes the 12 tribes of Israel for Jesus came for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat. 15:24). In other words, Jesus did not just come for the southern Kingdom of Judah, and its two tribes, but came for all the tribes of Israel, which stemming from the sons of Jacob, renamed Israel, were 12 in number. Sadly, ten of these tribes of the house of Israel were lost. This took place in steps.[1]

First, in 930 B.C. the ten northern tribes fought against the two southern tribes in a civil war which led to the establishment of two kingdoms: Judah in the south and Israel in the north. A few hundred years later, in 722 B.C. the ten northern tribes were conquered by the Assyrian Empire and forcefully scattered among the gentile nations where they intermarried with the gentiles and lost their identity as a people, as tribes. Despite this loss, prophet after prophet promised that one day God through a Davidic Messiah would restore all of Israel, all the 12 tribes. (Is. 49:6, Jeremiah 33:6-13, Ezekiel 36, Nahum 2:2, Amos 9:9-15)

At the time of Jesus, as intertestamental literature indicates, there was great hope that a Davidic Messiah, at times portrayed as a military leader, would gather the Twelve Tribes back as one, as one Israel.[2] This hope and even expectation that grew under Greek and then Roman domination of Palestine though seemed impossible since ten tribes in the north had lost their identity, even biologically, since they had intermarried with other nations and never returned to their homeland.

As some biblical scholars observe, God through Jesus Christ provides a surprising solution that was not nationalistic but rather entailed calling all people into a new Israel. By calling all nations to form a new Israel, God is keeping his promises of restoring the 12 tribes by including in his restored Israel all people, those in the south, in Judah who had retained their tribal identity, and biological identity, and the other ten tribes who over centuries had intermingled, intermarried, and shared their blood with nations of the world.[3]

The Catholic Church, which invites all people from all nations to participate in one loaf, the heavenly loaf of Jesus, which Sacramentally, and miraculously, feeds not 100, not 5,000 people but potentially all people of the world, is the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore Israel, and Jesus’ mission to gather the lost sheep of the northern Kingdom Israel back to the original Israel, prior to the deportation, and prior to the civil war.

Holy Spirit transform our hearts from ones that are nationalistic, that are sometimes overly narrow in our vision of who we are to love by considering those outside of our group, outside of our nationality, as outsiders and only used by our group for gain. May the words of Saint John Paul II prick our conscience, “The opposite of love is not hate but use.”[4] Instead of using others outside of our groups, may we see them as called to be members of our family, of our Catholic family where we are brothers and sisters with one father, Our Heavenly Father, one elder brother, Jesus, who walks with us, and one mother, our heavenly mother, Mary.

Blessings – Father Peter

Outline

Miraculous Meal for All Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B

2 Kings 4:42-44 Psalm 145 Ephesians 4:1-6 John 6:1-15

I. First Reading

Elisha 100 from 20 Barley Loaves

II. Psalm – Hand of the “Lord feeds us…and satisfies the desire of every living thing.”

III. Gospel – The Visible Hand of the Lord – Feeds 5000 from 5 Barley Loaves/2 Fish

         a. Notice Detail in John – Fragments from 5 fill 12 Baskets

         b. 12 – Miracle

         c. Another Miracle – Restoration of Israel

         d. Intertestamental Times – Greek and Roman Domination – Hope and Expectation

IV. Historical Context

         A. 930 B.C. Civil War – 722 B.C. Assyrians 

         B. Prophecies – of Restoration – Mystery

         C. How – Revealed in Jesus Christ and His Understanding of Who Constitutes Israel = All = Catholic Church – Not Defined by Nation, Ethnicity, Biology

IV. Conlusion

The Catholic Church, which invites all people from all nations to participate in one loaf, the heavenly loaf of Jesus, which Sacramentally, and miraculously, feeds not 100, not 5,000 people but potentially all people of the world, is the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore Israel, and Jesus’ mission to gather the lost sheep of the northern Kingdom Israel back to the original Israel, prior to the deportation, and prior to the civil war.

Holy Spirit transform our hearts from ones that are nationalistic, that are sometimes overly narrow in our vision of who we are to love by considering those outside of our group, outside of our nationality, as outsiders and only used by our group for gain. May the words of Saint John Paul II prick our conscience, “The opposite of love is not hate but use.”[5] Instead of using others outside of our groups, may we see them as called to be members of our family, of our Catholic family where we are brothers and sisters with one father, Our Heavenly Father, one elder brother, Jesus, who walks with us, and one mother, our heavenly mother, Mary.

Blessings – Father Peter

Credits

CHO CON NHÌN THẤY: Help Me to See You Lord – Lm. Thái Nguyên

Brant Pitre, “The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B),” catholicproductions.com.

Jackson-McCabe, “The Messiah Jesus in the Mythic World of James”, Journal of Biblical Literature, 122/4 (2003) 701-730, 717-723.

Scott Hahn, Faith Works: Bible Study on the Letter of James (Saint Joseph Communications), 8-9 of CD set.


[1] Brant Pitre, “The Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year B),” catholicproductions.com.

[2] Jackson-McCabe, “The Messiah Jesus in the Mythic World of James”, Journal of Biblical Literature, 122/4 (2003) 701-730, 717-723.

[3] Scott Hahn, Faith Works: Bible Study on the Letter of James (Saint Joseph Communications), 8-9 of CD set.

[4] Mark Shea, “The Oppositive of Love…” ncregister.com, https://www.ncregister.com/blog/the-opposite-of-love.

[5] Mark Shea, “The Oppositive of Love…” ncregister.com, https://www.ncregister.com/blog/the-opposite-of-love.


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