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Homily by Fr. Paul Plante

17th Sunday in Ordinary TIme

Year B

July 24, 1988

Scriptural Reference: John 6:1-15

     Today’s Gospel carries with it a very important lesson that I occasionally need to be uplifted by when the going gets a bit rough or when I start seeing the discouraging or hopeless side of life.

     I cannot imagine any of us who want to live fully, to contribute something special in life, to make this a better world, do not also feel very little, very poor and insignificant in front of all the needs within and all around us.

     I look at what I have to give – to offer – the amount of time and energy I have – the shortness of life and it looks as though I won’t really be able to do all that much, certainly not all the wonderful things I had dreamt to do. It is like coming upon the scene of a very serious accident – all alone with a little package of band-aids!

     By now, you may wonder how I will possibly connect these opening words with the Gospel. Well, we see Jesus facing a large tired and hungry crowd and all he has is a few loaves and a couple of dried fish. Very little means for a monumental task. Philip is bright enough to recognize it: “not even with 200 days wages could we buy loaves enough to give each of them a mouthful!”

     But then Jesus proceeds to distribute the loaves and fish and there is more than enough for everyone. They end up gathering left-overs!

     So! You do not have enough to see to all the needs – not enough time, not enough energy or health, not enough talent or education, not enough patience or love, not enough money for good causes. That is right, you do not and I do not!

     That is all fine. Simply give thanks as Jesus did and start sharing, start giving. Only then will you see that there is always more where the initial small amount came from – enough time for prayer, for others, enough patience for those who are not easy to deal with, enough energy for another smile and kind word, enough money for a good cause.

     These miracles are real. They can only happen in faith! Lots of it!

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