Daily Gospel
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary TimeB

Reading 1 (2 Kgs 4:42-44)

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
and fresh grain in the ear.
Elisha said, "Give it to the people to eat."
But his servant objected,
"How can I set this before a hundred people?"
Elisha insisted, "Give it to the people to eat."
"For thus says the LORD,
'They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'"
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.

Reading 2 (Eph 4:1-6)

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Gospel (Jn 6:1-15)

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
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.
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.
Philip answered him,
"Two hundred days?' wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.'"
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?"
Jesus said, "Have the people recline."
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
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."
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.


Fr. Anthony Dinh Minh Tien, O.P.

 

I. THEME: We should believe in God’s providence and generously share our resources with others.

            A Vietnamese proverb said, “Everything of this world belong to everybody; there is only one thing which belong to each individual is the heroic virtue.” This concept is very close to Christianity. God, who creates the universe and gives it to everybody. He wants people to share the world’s wealth so that there shouldn’t be some who are so rich and some who are so poor and have nothing to eat. In order to achieve God’s will, the Vietnamese proverb requires people to have the heroic virtue while God requires people to completely trust in His providence. Many are afraid to share their resources because they think that they shall be run out; but Jesus promised that if they generously give, God shall give back to them fully, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Mk 4:24-25).

            Today readings want to emphasize on these two concepts. In the first reading, the prophet Elisha commanded a man to distribute twenty loaves which he made for only the prophet to people, the Lord worked a miracle by feeding all people to eat and there was still some left over. In the second reading, St. Paul advised the faithful to protect the unity which they are called to do by living a humble, gentle, patient and charitable life. In the Gospel, Jesus worked a miracle to feed more than five thousand men from five loaves of bread and two fishes. After eating, there were still twelve baskets full of left over.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: For thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and there shall be some left over.”

1.1/ Must be generous to share: The author reported: “A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing the man of God twenty barely loaves made from the first fruits, and fresh grain in the ear. Elisha said, "Give it to the people to eat."”

            Today passage belongs to the last part of chapter four of the Second Book of Kings. In all chapter four, the author reported the story of the Shunem’s woman. Because of her kind acts to Elisha, the prophet responded by let her to have a son and raised him when he died because of headache (2 Kgs 4:1-44).

1.2/ Must believe in God’s providence: The author continued, “But his servant objected, "How can I set this before a hundred men?" "Give it to the people to eat," Elisha insisted. "For thus says the Lord, 'They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'"And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the Lord had said.”

            We should also remember the story of the prophet Elijah, Elisha’s master. Because of the widow’s kind act to Elijah, the prophet responded by commanding the flower container and the olive bottle shall not run out until rain is coming down. He also raised her son from death (1 Kgs 17:1-18).

2/ Reading II: Live in a manner worthy of the call you have received.

2.1/ The faithful’s call to unity: St. Paul wrote this Letter to the Ephesians when he was confined in prison at Rome. He advised the faithful as follows: “I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received... bearing with one another through love,striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”

            In order to unify, people need to know the reason why they have to unify. St. Paul gave us seven important reasons:

            (1) One body: All faithful are members of one body which is the Church, with Christ as the head. Christ’s body is only sound when all members are healthy. Any member that is separated from the body shall not be remained.

            (2) One Spirit: There are many different gifts but only one Holy Spirit who gives all the gifts to people so that they help to build up Christ’s Mystical Body.

            (3) One hope: All faithful are called to share in the one hope which is the eternal life with God and others.

            (4) One Lord: is Christ.

            (5) One faith: is to believe in Christ.

            (6) One baptism: by water and the Holy Spirit.

            (7) One God: “and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

2.2/ The faithful’s necessary virtues: St. Paul advised, "I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love." These are important virtues, not only for Christians but also for those who want to be successful and to live peacefully with others.

            (1) Humility (tapeinophrosúnê): The humble person recognizes their true self in the relationship with God and others. The prideful person don’t recognize this, they consider themselves to have everything already, don’t need to be taught by God or others and consider themselves as the standard to judge others. They don’t know that their wisdom are only drops of water in the sea of human wisdom and can’t be compared to God. The humble shall be loved by God and others while the pride shall be expelled by both.

            (2) Gentleness (práutês): The gentle always know how to properly behave to all; they don’t let anger control their mind. In opposition, the wicked let anger control their mind; they use vulgar language, and are ready to use violence to solve all of their problems.

            (3) Perseverance (makrothumía): The patient are always perservered and find a way to overcome difficuties and sufferings in their life. They won’t easily be discouraged, complain and give up.

            (4) Charity (agápê): St. Paul emphasized the importance of this virtue, “Above all, you should have love because it is the cord that binds up all the perfection.” We talked about this virtues many times; it is only existed in Christianity because it comes from God to human beings through Christ. Only when a person has this virtue, he shall fulfill Christ’s teaching, such as: to pray for, to forgive, to do good deeds for his enemies, and he shall be ready to sacrifice his life to witness for Christ and to protect others.

3/ Gospel: “He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.”

3.1/ People must believe in God’s power: The author reported, “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.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?"”

            (1) God’s power in the Passover event: The fact that St. John mentioned the Passover in his account wasn’t accidental, but had a theological meaning. He wanted to remind the Israelites of God’s great power; He let the Israelites safely cross the Red Sea while Pharaoh’s powerful army was sank in the midst of water. If a powerful God has power to let the Israelites cross the Red Sea, He also has power to feed people in the desert; these things are impossible to men.

            (2) Jesus’ power in feeding of the five thousand: Jesus said to his disciples, “"Have the people recline." Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.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.”

            (3) The figure of the sacrament of the Eucharist: Jesus knew the hardness of people in advance, so he prepared for them to accept the sacrament of the Eucharist which he shall lecture about it later in chapter six. If God could do a “multiplication of the loaves” miracle to feed five thousand men, He can also sacrifice His body to feed people daily. Moreover, in the Fourth Gospel, there isn’t a report about the Institution of the Eucharist in the Last Supper; we only have the formula of the Institution, “Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them” and the discourse about the Eucharist in the following section of chapter six.

3.2/ God requires human co-operation.

            (1) People concern only for themselves: There are two reasons which prevent people to share with others:

            + They were afraid of spending their money: Philip said to Jesus, "Two hundred days' wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little bit." The disciples didn’t want to spend their money to buy food for others, especially to such a crowd. In the Synoptic, the disciples suggested to Jesus to disperse people so that they could go into villages to buy their food. In opposition to all the disciples’ suggestions, he said to them: “You yourselves feed them.”

            + They were afraid of not having enough for themselves: 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?" The common reaction of people is to store up for themselves, especially in time of scarcity and life threatening.

            (2) God wants people to co-operate: God can do everything, but He wants people to express their faith, like a little boy who was ready to give Jesus five loaves of barley and two fishes to share with others. In the Preface od Mass, we offer bread and wine as the fruits of the earth and the work of human hands to God, and ask Him to make it to become our Bread of Life and spiritual drink. When the priest offers bread and wine to God, he also offers his and people’s sufferings, together with Christ’s sacrifice. All of these have power for God to accept them and to benefit people.

            (3) Jesus didn’t want people to concern only human needs: “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."Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.” People concern only with material needs; they wanted to make Jesus their king so that he shall provide bread for them, as the devil tempted Jesus in the desert so that he might convert stones to bread. Jesus refused all of these, he wanted people to truly love him and be a king of their mind and heart.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                     

            - We should generously share with others of our resources so that God shall replendish them. If we refuse to share, even what we have shall gradually be disappeared.

            - God, out of love, established the sacrament of the Eucharist to increase the strength for our spirit. After receiving the Eucharist, we must also become bread to nourish our brothers and sisters, spiritually and physically. 

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