Liturgy of the Sunday

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Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Feast of the apostle James, son of Zebedee. He was the first of the Twelve to be martyred, and his body is venerated in Compostela.
World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.


First Reading

2 Kings 4,42-44

A man came from Baal-Shalishah, bringing the man of God bread from the first-fruits, twenty barley loaves and fresh grain still in the husk. 'Give it to the company to eat,' Elisha said. But his servant replied, 'How can I serve this to a hundred men?' 'Give it to the company to eat,' he insisted, 'for Yahweh says this, "They will eat and have some left over." ' He served them; they ate and had some left over, as Yahweh had said.

Psalmody

Psalm 144

Antiphon

Let us praise your name, O Lord, for ever and ever.

I will give you glory, O God my King,
I will bless your name for ever.

I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.

the Lord is great, highly to be praised,
His greatness cannot be measured.

Age to age shall proclaim your works,
shall declare your mighty deeds,

shall speak to your splendour and glory,
tell the tale of your wonderful works.

They will speak of your terrible deeds,
recount your greatness and might.

They will recall your abundant goodness;
age to age shall ring out your justice.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.

They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God,

to make known to men your mighty deeds
and the glorious splendour of your reign.

Yours is an everlasting kingdom;
your rule lasts from age to age.

The Lord is faithful in all in words
and loving in all his deeds.

The Lord supports all who fall
and raises all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all creatures look to you
and you give them their food in due time.

You open wide your hand
grant the desires of all who live.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.

He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

He grants the desires of those who fear him,
he hears their cry and he saves them.

The Lord protects all who love him;
but the wicked he will utterly destroy.

Let me speak the praise of the Lord,
let all mankind bless his holy name
for ever, for ages unending.

Second Reading

Ephesians 4,1-6

I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to lead a life worthy of the vocation to which you were called. With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love. Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, over all, through all and within all.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 6,1-15

After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee -- or of Tiberias- and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he had done in curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside and sat down there with his disciples. The time of the Jewish Passover was near. Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, 'Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?' He said this only to put Philip to the test; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, 'Two hundred denarii would not buy enough to give them a little piece each.' One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said, 'Here is a small boy with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that among so many?' Jesus said to them, 'Make the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were sitting there; he then did the same with the fish, distributing as much as they wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, 'Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.' So they picked them up and filled twelve large baskets with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. Seeing the sign that he had done, the people said, 'This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.' Jesus, as he realised they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, fled back to the hills alone.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

Jesus confronts the crowds and knows that they follow him, not only because they are hungry for bread to eat, but also they are seeking healing, good words, a meaning to life, and a hope for the future. Hence bread, human beings' basic nourishment, is the sign of the care and love that God has for people. Indeed the first hunger that we all feel is precisely this: hunger for love. This hunger is not a misfortune, but our truth, a sign of our limit and our frailty, and even Jesus in the desert "was hungry". In front of this hunger there is God's love, his desire for communion so that men and women may have life in abundance.
Jesus notices that the crowds are hungry and asks his disciples to feed them; he does so with a concrete request as if to test the disciples' true will to love: "Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?" Yes, love is concrete, it is not a fairy tale or an ideology; it faces hunger and the true issues of people. We cannot love only through words but in deeds and truth. Philip and Andrew question themselves; Philip faces the issue of resources, Andrew finds a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish. This is nothing for the crowds, but everything for Jesus. Indeed when one is ready to give, the little becomes a lot. In the Gospel, five barley loaves and two fish, through Jesus' words and gestures, fill the hunger of five thousand people and there will be left over. More than multiplication we should speak of sharing and of gift. This overabundance is what makes those breads reach us and fill our hunger for love.
The initiative to feed the crowds comes directly from Jesus. Jesus' gesture is totally free. It comes only from his gaze on the crowd, from his compassion, from his mercy. Jesus' gesture ("he took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them") indicates what happens every Sunday; on the altar Jesus gives himself as the bread of life, and the Eucharist is the place of God's encounter with men and women under the sign of gratuitousness, of great and merciful love. The evangelist notes that, after having eaten, the crowd admired Jesus for what he had done for them and wanted to proclaim him king. But once again, he draws away up the mountain; he did not want to devalue the urgency of their hunger for a never-ending bread, that is, the need for an affectionate and lasting relationship with the Lord. And we, with Jesus on the mountain, continue to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread!"